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.
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.
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.
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.