Texas law allows transsexual and intersex individuals to get married upon the presentation of a court order recognizing sex reassignment.
This change honors the self-identification rather than basing access to marriage licenses on sex assigned at birth. The Texas Senate is considering Senate Bill 723 to prevent district clerks from accepting the court order recognizing a sex change.
At the same time, Texas resident Nikki Araguz is enmeshed in a horrific lawsuit after the tragic death of her beloved husband, Thomas, a firefighter, who perished while fighting a fire a little under a year ago. Thomas's family is seeking to declare that their marriage was void and that she is not a woman, because she was born with an intersex condition known as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, and had surgery to correct that condition and corrected her birth certificate to reassign her sex as female. Of course, the motivation is money -- Thomas's ex-wife wants his survivor's benefits.
SB 723 appears to be a mean-spirited attempt by Texas Senator Tommy Williams aimed straight at Nikki's heart.
The bill was thought to be sidelined for the year, but it appears there is a last-minute attempt to sneak it through. Don't let it happen!
If you're from Texas, you should call your legislator now and ask that they vote no on SB 723. More info, and a trailer from the documentary "Courting Nikki," after the jump.
According to Meghan Stabler, the 'intent calendar' has just been updated for today's Texas Senate calendar to bring SB 723 to a vote. This means the bill could be voted on as early as today or remain on the "to vote" list for the rest of the week.
Senator Tommy Williams (R) authored and introduced S.B. 723 to amend Section 2.005(b), Family Code, by removing "or sex change" in reference to documents acceptable in proving an applicant's identity for obtaining a marriage license.
If this bill passes, an argument can be made that the legislature intended to nullify the marriage of Nikki Araguz and other transsexual and intersex people.
The video below, a trailer for the documentary "Courting Nikki," explains more.
Use this to find your State Senator, then please call their office and urge your Senator to prevent this bill, SB 723, from reaching the Senate floor, and to vote "no" if it does.
Via Legislative Queery: "For even more extra credit please consider calling Sen. Carlos Uresti, who is likely the crucial 20th vote needed to bring this bill up for consideration. His capitol office number is (512) 463-0119."
Monica Roberts at Transgriot has set out the addresses and phone numbers of the Democratic Senators who need to be alerted to this attempt to invalidate Nikki's marriage. As Monica said so eloquently, "let them know the eyes of trans Texans and our allies are STILL upon them." The names below are linked to their email addresses.
Here's a trans 101 note: Nikki Araguz identifies as transsexual and intersex, as well as female. It would be insensitive to refer to her as "transgender," which is an umbrella term that includes many types of gender variance.