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Guest Pammy

Texas Legislature Trying Mess With Trans Marriages

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The TX legislature is trying to slip SB 723 past us. It has been languishing on a back burner for quite a while now and suddenly it has been moved up for a vote today, May 10. This is the bill that will strip transgender Texans of our right to marriage equality by refusing to accept an affidavit of a sex change as proof of identity to obtain a marriage license as is currently permitted.

I would advise all transgendered Texans to let their state senators know their feelings on this right away, as the bill is scheduled first thing in the morning. Any emails or phone calls must be received no later than 9 am CDT.

Sneaky politicians, trying to blindside us! I emailed already and will be calling first thing in the morning.

You can view the text of the bill here.

If you want to email your senator to let him or her know how you feel about this, click here.

I wonder if this is a result of the Nikki Araguz situation in Houston? You might remember this case... Nikki is the widow of a firefighter who was killed in the line of duty in July, 2010. Soon after, she was sued by her late husband's ex-wife and mother who were seeking all of her widow's benefits. She has also been barred from seeing her stepchildren or even living in their shared house.

I hesitate to include a link to her website so if you want to know more, Google her name and choose whatever seems to give you the best information. This SB 723 certainly would make her case much harder to win.

Love

Pamela

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Wow that sux! It seems a massive step backwards in the law to me! I hope enough Texans stand against it and they listen.

Nikki's situation sounds terrible too. I find it amazing how they can justify something like that. I haven't read about the case but from what you've said it must have been devastating for her.

It makes me realise actually that I have no idea how the law is over here in the UK for things like this. I really should look into it.

Gabe

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It does NOT strip anything away except the ability to use a non-photo-ID document as the proof of ID before the Clerk for the purpose of getting the marriage license. There is NO reason for a person NOT to use their drivers license as proof of ID- the ONLY reason one would seek to use a court order as ID is if they were going for the shock and awe visibility that certain attorneys in Houston seem to espouse even when it is to the detriment of their clients.

I much prefer the House Bill that has languished in Committee since March. It would restructure to remove ALL documents that do not comprise photo ID. This would include birth certificates...

My opposition to 723 (which was placed on the Intent calendar the same as the other multitude of bills placed on that Calendar) is related to the fact that the State has far more pressing issues to contend with at present. Other than that, I would oppose 723 solely on the basis that HB3098 is a far better piece of legislation...

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It does NOT strip anything away except the ability to use a non-photo-ID document as the proof of ID before the Clerk for the purpose of getting the marriage license.

Agreed.

This change is trivial and meaningless.

This is the bill that will strip transgender Texans of our right to marriage equality by refusing to accept an affidavit of a sex change as proof of identity to obtain a marriage license as is currently permitted.

An affidavit of sex change would be that provided by a surgeon. The text of the bill refers to a certified copy of court order which most trans folks never need nor get and something that is hard to come by in Texas anyway. It is not the sex change affidavit.

As Ann said, nothing about this change prevents one from using their driver's license or passport. With the passport one can even get gender marker changed without SRS. The fact that it allows drivers license and passport (as compared to just birth certificate) actually makes it easier for trans folk who may have issues getting their birth certificate updated.

What is far more relevent in Texas is that a Texas Supreme Court ruling going back to 2000 ruled that one's gender is defined by genetics. That ruling came out during a challenge to a lawsuit award were a surviving spouse (mtf) won a malpractice suit. By invalidating the marriage the malpractice award was tossed out because the marriage was deemed invalid and thus said the person who filed the lawsuit had no basis for the filing.

Under current law (even this modification) getting married is no problem. The issue comes when there is some reason it may be challenged in court. In Texas there is the one large precedent I mentioned above. In other states there are other ways the marriage of a trans person may be challenged. So while marriage generally is possible, the legal benefits are often tenuous for trans folk. This can affect things such as with a lawsuit mentioned above, challenges to inheritence rights, challenges to spousal medical or survivor benefits, or even rights to property during a divorce. Nothing about the mentioned legislation will change any of that.

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What is far more relevent in Texas is that a Texas Supreme Court ruling going back to 2000 ruled that one's gender is defined by genetics. That ruling came out during a challenge to a lawsuit award were a surviving spouse (mtf) won a malpractice suit. By invalidating the marriage the malpractice award was tossed out because the marriage was deemed invalid and thus said the person who filed the lawsuit had no basis for the filing.

Under current law (even this modification) getting married is no problem. The issue comes when there is some reason it may be challenged in court. In Texas there is the one large precedent I mentioned above. In other states there are other ways the marriage of a trans person may be challenged. So while marriage generally is possible, the legal benefits are often tenuous for trans folk. This can affect things such as with a lawsuit mentioned above, challenges to inheritence rights, challenges to spousal medical or survivor benefits, or even rights to property during a divorce. Nothing about the mentioned legislation will change any of that.

Littleton was botched from the beginning with the complicating factor having been that no effort was made to alter the birth certificate until AFTER the litigation commenced. Thus a document existed to corroborate that the marriage did not comport with Texas law as it was written at the time of the marriage. The saving grace is that the Texas Supreme Court never accepted the case which means it is controlling ONLY in the jurisdictional area of the 4th Court of Appeals at San Antonio. It is also a case that likely never would have reached the national spotlight had a particular Houston-area attorney not pimped out pre-ops for the purpose of what was being claimed as a 'legal same sex marriage.'

Further, proper estate planning would also preclude many of the problems that the doomsayers are concerned about.

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My question to this whole thing is if they require a birth certificate than why don't people just get their birth certificate changed to show female after surgery? I will be doing that myself after it happens.

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Ann, thank you for the clarifications, its been a long time and I was drawing from memory. I agree it was botched. I remember looking at it back at the time cause it caused my application for birth certificate modification to be rejected. I remember that there had been opportunities to resolve it short of the precedent, but other agendas had come into play so it became a fight for principle that resulted in a big setback rather than the move forward. I do remember the same sex marrige thing comming into play as you said.

Good point on the estate planning, yes that can compensate. One just has to make sure such measures are taken.

My question to this whole thing is if they require a birth certificate than why don't people just get their birth certificate changed to show female after surgery?

Because some jurisdictions won't change it. It makes no different though because a passport is golden and getting a passport with the marker changed isn't that difficult as long as one is eligible to get a passport. A driver's license probably covers in most instances. It's not a big deal.

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My question to this whole thing is if they require a birth certificate than why don't people just get their birth certificate changed to show female after surgery? I will be doing that myself after it happens.

Missed in all the hoopla regarding SB723 is that the companion HB (3098) would actually remove birth certificates as an acceptable form of ID for marriage. HB3098 would take ALL documents off the table that did not contain a photograph (my guess is that few people realized that a motor vehicle certificate of title could be used to prove ID or that an insurance policy that had been in effect continuously for at least two years could ALSO be used to prove ID).

In the short time I have spent on this board and another forum, I have cringed at the number of instances where people have not taken the time to change all documents that could be changed. It just never seems to fail that by leaving things undone comes back to bite people...and had Littleton changed that document way back at the time of the surgery, then the certified copy of a birth certificate obtained by opposing counsel would have had the magic "F" on it and the birth certificate would not have become the red herring that distracted from the real issues present in that case.

Those in Texas are also not helped by the fact that prominent counsel present in that case as well as another active case always seems to want to grandstand the 'transgender' issue, an action that places the client's true interests on a backburner (IMO, to the detriment of the client).

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I'm not a Texas resident but I implore all Texans to make their voices heard. This is a critical matter that affect not only texas but other states as well.

Gennee

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There is NO reason for a person NOT to use their drivers license as proof of ID

I've got to say that the assumption that EVERYONE has a drivers license is a pain in the backside! Over here most places wont accept a birth certificate as ID any more if you're over 18 and demand a passport or drivers license. I've never been abroad and have no plans to do so in the short term future so I don't have a passport (and to be perfectly honest it might not seem like a big cost for a lot of people but living on a very tight budget I can't afford to pay £50 for a passport really and then another one for my partner who has the same problem so adding up to 100 quid just to sit in the back of the draw in case we need to prove who we are) and because I have a disability that affects things like spacial awareness and alertness I've never learned to drive. I'm fed up of being told that I can't do basic things that people take for granted like open a bank account or register with a doctor because the only ID I have IS my birth certificate!

So yeah there is a valid reason why people would use a birth certificate as proof of ID

(sorry for the rant, this is getting to be a pet peeve of mine coz it's frustrating me so much)

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I've got to say that the assumption that EVERYONE has a drivers license is a pain in the backside! Over here most places wont accept a birth certificate as ID any more if you're over 18 and demand a passport or drivers license. I've never been abroad and have no plans to do so in the short term future so I don't have a passport (and to be perfectly honest it might not seem like a big cost for a lot of people but living on a very tight budget I can't afford to pay £50 for a passport really and then another one for my partner who has the same problem so adding up to 100 quid just to sit in the back of the draw in case we need to prove who we are) and because I have a disability that affects things like spacial awareness and alertness I've never learned to drive. I'm fed up of being told that I can't do basic things that people take for granted like open a bank account or register with a doctor because the only ID I have IS my birth certificate!

So yeah there is a valid reason why people would use a birth certificate as proof of ID

(sorry for the rant, this is getting to be a pet peeve of mine coz it's frustrating me so much)

Generally speaking, in Texas where the law in question is being contemplated, people either have a DL or they have an ID card. And if they don't have something issued by TxDPS, they have a photo ID issued by another government agency. In this day and age, anyone seeking to function has SOME form of government photo ID that satisfies the requirements of the Texas Family Code. In fact, even a STUDENT ID from a state university could satisfy a photo ID proof...

And the costs are hardly exhorbitant...I think my last renewal (for a six year period) was $24 but I was not even paying that much attention. I probably would have paid more attention if I could have renewed online, but because the picture was more than 10 years old at the time, I had to get a new photo...

Texas law provides myriad options for Texas residents to use in order to prove age and identity for the purposes of marriage...a change to Texas law hardly impacts someone in the UK. And, if someone from the UK *was* going to travel to Texas for marital reasons, then there would be a passport involved in the equation.

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My question to this whole thing is if they require a birth certificate than why don't people just get their birth certificate changed to show female after surgery? I will be doing that myself after it happens.

Sarah,

that is another area of some oddity in the Texas Laws - the Judge can hear your case with all of the proper paper work and still has several options - turn down your request completely, Issue a modified Birth Certificate with the addendum that you can never marry a male in the State of Texas or simply authorize the changes - it is all up to the judge.

Just thought that I would let you know so that you can prepare - a lawyer is not a bad idea in Texas.

Better than Ohio where it cannot be changed at all.

Love ya,

Sally

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My question to this whole thing is if they require a birth certificate than why don't people just get their birth certificate changed to show female after surgery? I will be doing that myself after it happens.

My thoughts. I am Texas born and also need to do this. I just hope they keep a rational approach to any changes. I don't trust my BIBLE THUMPING prone home state.

Lizzy

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