Family Law

Despite Male-to-Female Sex Change, Woman Is Still a Man Under Texas Marriage Law

The attorney general of Texas is a staunch supporter of the state law requiring marriage (and, he says, by extension divorce) to be between a man and a woman.

But a request last month by the El Paso County Attorney for a ruling concerning one woman’s plan to marry another seemingly may have put Greg Abbott in a difficult dilemma. That’s because one of the two, who had a sex-change operation and is now known as Sabrina Hill, was born male, according to her birth certificate, the El Paso Times reports.

It appears that, not having heard from Abbott, Hill and her longtime domestic partner, Therese “Tee” Bur, went to Bexar County where they were granted a license by the county clerk based on Littleton v. Prange and married Monday in San Antonio. The 1999 case denied a woman, who had had previously had a male-to-female sex change operation and married, the right to pursue a tort case over the death of her husband because she was still considered to be male and hence unmarried.

Hill likewise is still considered to be male under state law because of her birth certificate, and hence the marriage license was granted, Bexar County Clerk Gerard “Gerry” Rickhoff tells the newspaper.

“As I recall, he said you are what you are at your birth,” says Rickhoff, referring to the judge in the Littleton case. “I don’t care what they appear to me or what manner of dress. We are familiar with them, and they are well-received when they come to our office.”

His county grants such marriage licenses perhaps once or twice a year.

Hill, who is 60, served in the U.S. Army before the sex-change operation. Hill wanted to marry so that Bur, 52, would qualify for veteran’s benefits.

Additional coverage: “Judge Nixes Texas AG’s Effort to Intervene in Same-Sex Divorce Case”

Instant Tea (Dallas Voice): “UDPATE: Texas allows a gay marriage”

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