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Texas Looking to Rescind Transgender Marriage Rights

Liz De La Torre

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In a state that forbids same-sex marriage, the year 2009 marked a feat for Texas as a law allowing transgendered people to use

n a state that forbids same-sex marriage, the year 2009 marked a feat for Texas as a law allowing transgendered people to use documentation of their sexual reassignment to obtain a marriage license was signed into effect by Sen. Tommy Williams and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst. Now, nearly two years after this initial ruling, the same legislators are trying to reverse their decision.

documentation of their sexual reassignment to obtain a marriage license was signed into effect by Sen. Tommy Williams and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst. Now, nearly two years after this initial ruling, the same legislators are trying to reverse their decision.

When asked about the change, Sen. Williams had this to say: “The Texas Constitution clearly defines marriage between one man and one woman.” He went on to say that to fit in with this Constitution ideal, the law needed to be refined. In fact, Mark Miner, the spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry, said giving transgendered people marriage rights was never planned and is working to try to “clarify the unintended consequences” of that law.

In 1999, a state appeals court decision declared that gender is designated at birth and remains a life-long attribute in spite of a sex change. While Kolkhorst has been tightlipped for her part, Sen. Williams insists the intent behind the law change is to try to assess and offset the 2009 law with the 1999 appeals court ruling and ease the process of marriage licensing for county and district clerks.

As for advocates of transgender marriage rights, they have cited the Texas proposition as unfair and discriminatory. “We want to be recognized as people. We want to have the same rights as all of you,” Lisa Scheps of the Transgender Education Network of Texas said. In addition, they maintain that if this law is approved, it will not only put a stop to future transgendered marriages but also void any current marriages. Because a court order holds such immense power, legal disputes could threaten the validity of the marriage without the court acknowledging sexual reassignment. The same holds true despite transgendered people still being able to obtain marriage licenses using other state and federally-issued documents.

Though the law change has yet to be sanctioned, Shannon Minter, an attorney for the national Transgender Law and Policy Institute, is just one of many people hoping for a move forward: “It would be terrible for Texas, now that it finally caught up with the rest of the country, to take a step back.”

1 Comment

One Response to “Texas Looking to Rescind Transgender Marriage Rights”

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Texas Looking to Rescind Transgender Marriage Rights