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Transgender woman denied marriage license due to Texas’ gay marriage ban

Monday, September 16, 2013

HOUSTON — The transgender widow of a Texas firefighter, whom a judge ruled in 2011 was not entitled to her late husband’s death benefits because she was born a man, is now challenging Texas law once more by attempting to get married again.

Nikki Araguz

Nikki Araguz

KHOU-TV reports that Nikki Araguz and her fiancé, William Lloyd, were denied a marriage license by the Harris County Clerk’s office because Texas state law considers her male, even though she presented a document certifying her gender transition and her amended California birth certificate identifying her as female.

But county officials said they can only accept an original birth certificate, and since Araguz’ designates her as male, they would not issue her a marriage license, citing the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Araguz, 38, claims that under the 2009 family code, sex change documents are permitted as proof of identification for a marriage license, but officials say the only way her amended birth certificate could be successfully used as a form of identification for the marriage license, under current Texas law, is if Araguz were marrying a woman.

KHOU-TV reports:

In 2010, the day after her late husband Thomas Araguz’ burial, Thomas’ family filed suit claiming that since Nikki Araguz was born male, she was not female at the time of her marriage to Thomas and that the marriage should be invalidated, and denied spousal benefits she would have been granted because Thomas died in the line of duty.

On May 26, 2011, State District Judge Randy Clapp ruled in favor of Thomas’ family and nullified the marriage.

Next week the original ruling that denied Nikki Araguz death benefits from her first marriage will be heard by the 13th Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi.

Nikki Araguz says she and her current fiance will take part in a wedding ceremony immediately after that hearing, marriage license or not.

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122 more reader comments:

  1. Wow Texas… x.x

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:23pm
  2. that is so wrong

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:23pm
  3. Texas is such a joke.. shame on them :p

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:24pm
  4. That is so skewed.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:24pm
  5. booooooooooooooooooo

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:24pm
  6. well….. duh

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:24pm
  7. Texas is the most ignorant scary pseudo-christian state…run by a bunch of hatemingering crooks…DESPICABLE!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:24pm
  8. Behind Alabama that is.

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:30pm
  9. the whole south is terrible, redneck ways...ugh

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:39pm
  10. I think North Carolina is in a dead heat race with Texas for first place, sadly...

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 10:14am
  11. U obviously don't know anything abt UTAH...

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6:22pm
  12. That’s awful.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:25pm
  13. Doesn’t the Word TEXAS say it all?? How much more do they have to dumb it down?? It’s Texas all of their laws and ordinances are screwed up!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:26pm
  14. f*ck texas

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:27pm
  15. Right up there with Florida (she said from Florida).

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:27pm
  16. Why does any sane person live in Texas?

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:27pm
  17. this breaks my heart in so many ways

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:28pm
  18. What a surprise, Texas is against something like this.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:28pm
  19. its no surprise, the state is over-ran with redneck asshole

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:39pm
  20. I know, I was being sarcastic

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:45pm
  21. I don’t understand this at all! There is not an ounce of “man” on her! She’s more beautiful than a lot of ciswomen I’ve seen

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:31pm
  22. Exactly. I should know. I live in Texas. She is much prettier than most around the DFW area.

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:00pm
  23. She has all her teeth, she's already a step ahead of a lot of Texans I know. No offence

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:00pm
  24. Wouldn’t that then make her a lesbian if she married a woman? She’d be denied anyway on the horrible State of Texas.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:31pm
  25. texas is that stupid! they can't even figure out simple logic!

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:44pm
  26. Fucking Texas

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:31pm
  27. rednecks

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:42pm
  28. And I live here

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:32pm
  29. It’ll be a while before Texas will be turned blue. It’ll probably be blue before Utah, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, and any other of those backwards hillbilly states ever even recognize gays as people and not some alien race here to destroy the Earth or some stupid theory they concoct to try and rationalize their ignorance and stupidity to the masses of gullible idiots who’ll believe anything they’re told.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:33pm
  30. I agree believe it or not I've seen texas go through a lot of progression lately so peeps don't give up hope!

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:17am
  31. Well I hope Texas does progress more so that anyone who's LGBT can have the right to love who they want and marry who they want regardless of what the government or overly conservative religious nuts think. I have a friend who's gay, a friend who's bisexual, a boyfriend who's also bisexual, and a friend who's lesbian. I haven't met anyone who's transgender-ed but I would accept them regardless. I want people to be happy and regardless of what any douchebag conservative overly religious nut-job has to say I'm an ally and I stand by the LGBT in hopes that they will able to enjoy the same rights I do.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:25am
  32. So sad. So unfair. What does a woman have to do?

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:33pm
  33. If she reassigned captain winky then she’s a woman…….I don’t see how they could deny her it just doesn’t make sense…

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:34pm
  34. Y’all need to stop being so unfair on Texas. The legislation is what is responsible for stuff like this, not the people of Texas as a whole. I’m a Texan, but I’m not a complete idiot like the politicians are.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:35pm
  35. The people of Texas vote for for these retards, so yes, you are responsible whether you like it or not.

    Replied on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:25pm
  36. Blanket statements about the people of Texas are unnecessary and outrageously untrue. We can't recklessly make blanket statements about people or we are no better than the haters. Btw...my own rights were challenged. We won our battle in federal court. http://www.startribune.com/local/146208555.html

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 12:20am
  37. you vote them in; Texas has the lowest voting rate in the country. so get off the couch and vote them out.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 12:51am
  38. Sky, PLEAASE stop using the r word. It's hurtful for many people.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:06am
  39. Ken - People voted in the legislators who passed the legislation. So, you and the other TX voters need to take responsibility. If you have done all you can, then I applaud you & send as many votes your way as a northerner can. Really.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:09am
  40. I bet at least one of you voted for Obama. When I vote for someone, it's because I like them for what they said they were going to do. Only that person has control over what they actually do when they get into office. Still, your argument is mostly invalid.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 12:21pm
  41. I voted for Obama twice and he has done the things I wanted him to do. Texas votes in complete redneck humping idiots who can't take their minds off the bible for long enough to realize it's not the word of God. It's barbaric man's interpretation of His word.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:58pm
  42. If you voted them in, yes you are responsible. If you did not vote, yes you are responsible.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 7:32pm
  43. "Obama has done the things I wanted him too." Nice. So, you approve of the nonsense over the years?

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 10:43pm
  44. So they are denying heterosexual the right to marry in texas? Or is it a matter of you have to drop your shorts or pull up your skirt to get a marriage licence?

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:37pm
  45. I LOVE MY COUNTRY BUT I STRONGLY DISLIKE THE BASTARDS THAT RUN IT!!!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:40pm
  46. YOU GO “GIRL” WHOOP SOME ASS IN COURT!!!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:40pm
  47. there are laws that discriminate against gays are u fucking kidding me

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:41pm
  48. How cruel. Equal. Rights now!!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:42pm
  49. Texas is a red state, my husband and I had to go to NYC to get married. We were happy to! Texas, as a whole ( hole) will be the last state to grant same sex marriages, watch

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:43pm
  50. Only in America, after the Supreme Court of this country ruled DOMA and Prop 8. unconstitutional; why don’t states just voluntarily grant marriage rights to gay couples? That would be to easy. We have to sue them to get our rights! Pathetic!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:47pm
  51. Ahh shes so pretty my heart is broken for here

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:52pm
  52. My thoughts and prayers are with you nikki, we all will win this fight for our rights.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:54pm
  53. James is stupid.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:54pm
  54. Makes me want yo puke.This is so wrong.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:55pm
  55. Ok but would they let her use the men’s room? People need to get over what other people do. She isn’t hurting anyone. Let her live her life!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:59pm
  56. If she did, she would be attacked and possibly beaten to death :(

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:51am
  57. Damn shame.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 3:54pm
  58. Either awfully good genes or a damn good surgeon! Nikki looks fantastic! Never would have know that she was a transgendered person! Don’t give up the fight!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:01pm
  59. Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:03pm
  60. I can’t wait till all the old white bible thumping politicians in the Texas Legislation and Capital all wither a way and die. I’m so embarrassed of our representatives at times. Please let Wendy Davis win the position of Texas Governor.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:04pm
  61. Take it to court.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:05pm
  62. soon they’ll force women to wear the burqa

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:05pm
  63. So outrageous! Fight on!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:07pm
  64. Please secede!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:08pm
  65. Well said Ken Fury! On both counts!

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:16pm
  66. doesn’t surprise me … why should Snake Perry and the Poison Pit provide the type of service that people are entitled to.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:16pm
  67. wow total bullshit

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:36pm
  68. One day this wall wont be mostly full of things that make me sad.

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:51pm
  69. SHE LOOK JUST LIKE A LADY…….PPL LEAVE PPL ALONG…. ONLY GOD……HAVE THE RIGHTS………

    Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 11:58pm
  70. Save yourself all the Bigger in Texas heart ache and move back to California.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 12:19am
  71. Horrible!!

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 12:22am
  72. Well said Christine. My wife is from Texas. We met in Los Angeles but moved back here 12 years later due to the job market and economy. We have a 4 year old daughter and my family is treated well here. I have not had to deal with discrimination. In fact, I felt with it in Los Angeles quite a few times. We are both out at our jobs and her family considers be their own. Not just her dad, but her uncle, grandfather, aunts, cousins, etc. I have made some amazing friends here. People don’t understand the fight that the LBGT community faces, but when it comes up in conversation, most listen and learn. They are supportive of my family and one by one, we are making a difference here. So, while the governor has been an ass-hat, don’t you dare say the people are bad. You haters are WORSE than the conservative haters and just as bigoted. Get off your high horse and put the blame where it belongs. In fact, stop blaming and get off your asses to create the change.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 12:33am
  73. OK, I might be way out of line here, but all I can hear in my head is a line from “Sordid Lives”…. “Can you see my pussy now?” Texas… ignorant since 1845.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 12:54am
  74. Texas. A bunch of idiots run by idiots

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:12am
  75. She’s hot!

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:14am
  76. Awful…hope it goes to the supreme court

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:21am
  77. But she could get a gun…

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:22am
  78. well sweetie come to Baltimore get married here at my church I will married you My husband and I just got married the 14th have been together 22 yrs this December and this is what I have been waiting for

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:27am
  79. I mean really, just F YOU Texas.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:46am
  80. Fucking Texas.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:50am
  81. We need to remove Texas like the big cancerous tumor it is.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:04am
  82. So, according to TX law, she could marry a woman? Isn’t this against state law? How can they not see?

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:04am
  83. that is not right.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:05am
  84. :~(

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:13am
  85. Texas is so homophobic they must feel so insecure they have to hide up their own backsides when it comes to truth, justice and honor.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:20am
  86. Fuck Texas.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:20am
  87. ACLU where are you?

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:39am
  88. Im moving out of Texas

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:48am
  89. Texas sux.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:49am
  90. WTF??? This makes no sense.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 3:03am
  91. move to Washington, or Califoria

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 3:17am
  92. She got hosed (pun not intended) she’s really pretty though, I admire people like her.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 3:36am
  93. WTF:-( What an ignorant asshat judge!

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:00am
  94. ridiculous.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:00am
  95. Outrageous. When will people get over this and let everyone exist on equal terms? SMFH.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:09am
  96. Wow, ignorant & sad. Hoping she gets what’s she actually deserves & not this bullshit.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:09am
  97. Such a sad commentary.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:13am
  98. More shit from The Crapper State of TexASS

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:40am
  99. They need to be punished for being hate mongers.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:47am
  100. Can we just go ahead and relabel Texas from “everything’s bigger in Texas” to “everything’s bigotted in Texas”?

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:50am
  101. New York says send all your tired and poor. Texas says send all your liars ,thieves,rapests,hate mungers ,racists pigs,and unwashed.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:56am
  102. I thank God I don’t live in Texas…this is soooo unfair. She is a beautiful woman that has proof she is a woman and the ignorance of the office is inexcusable. I feel sorry for the bad rap the people in Texas get that are intelligent, caring citizens that know this is just wrong.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 5:00am
  103. It’s people like her who will get the laws changed if she sticks with it all the way to the Supreme Court. Now we just need one conservative Supreme to die or resign and we will have it in the box.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 5:03am
  104. Let people live. She is not hurting anyone. And to the firefighter’s family: you dishonour his memory! What a damn shame.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 5:21am
  105. she is actually transsexual; i think it’s important to use the correct terminology.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6:10am
  106. i have to deal with the same fucking bullshit in kansas. the government needs to stop meddling in everyone’s personal affairs. fuck.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6:49am
  107. Wtf

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6:53am
  108. Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 8:38am
  109. Ban?! why wont someone ban rape or ban murder or ban child abuse or neglect or animal abuse. But no this country bans its own ppl its citizens its patriotic human beings the right to marry who they love. Who is this government to say who we can and cannot love and marry?

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 12:37pm
  110. first of all it’s TX and the home of the Bush’s

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:06pm
  111. Why…..so disrespectful. ..she deserves to happy just like everyone else…smh

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:38pm
  112. To have to deal with your husband’s death and then his family filing suit against you is horrible. Texas should really take a look at what the Supreme Court said. How much longer will Texas remain a backwater state.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:46pm
  113. Those TexASSholes need to learn some tolerance and dedicate themselves to the plain truth that all human beings are EQUAL!

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 2:54pm
  114. why the hell would ANY one want to live in Texas??? pfffft

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 3:04pm
  115. So sad. When a human adult can’t marry the person they love… that’s a crime.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 3:43pm
  116. crap

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:31pm
  117. There’s something missing from this. Her first marriage, was that officially recognized by the state prior to her husband’s death? If it was, wouldn’t that go a long ways toward showing how so much of this caricature of conservatism is younger than the Happy Meal…

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6:28pm
  118. this pisses me off

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6:51pm
  119. *Currently trying to fix this* really. Not all us Texans are “Hate mongering” most of us just suffer from “Don’t give a Fuck”

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6:59pm
  120. You Go Girl take it all the way I See your Strong & Willing to Make Tex ASS Pay Way to Go

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 7:30pm
  121. One of those stories for why I always stated that “gay marriage” is not gay, but marriage equality for all, not just the gays. Those denying anyone anything because of someone’s misconceived opinion are wrong. Transwomen are women, not men. Transmen are men, not women. Why is this so difficult for people to grasp? It’s hell of a lot easier to wrap your mind around than say, a god… the very god they point to and claim inspired them to create such discriminatory laws. -flips a table- Don’t get me started on the whole “but transwomen are just gay men” argument spewed by ignoramuses that know nothing of the subject and the science behind it.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 9:59pm
  122. Come to California or go to Vermont.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 12:50am