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Indiana

Court: Ind. gay marriage ban cannot invalidate marriages of transgender spouses

Monday, December 23, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriage cannot be used to invalidate a marriage if one spouse later changes his or her gender identity, the state Court of Appeals has ruled.

gavelThe ruling handed down Friday stems from a divorce case involving David Paul Summers and Angela Summers, who married in southern Indiana’s Brown County on Oct. 30, 1999.

At some point during the couple’s marriage, David Summers was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a disorder where a person’s gender at birth is different than the gender the person identifies with, according to court records.

Summers legally changed his name to Melanie Davis in 2005. Three years later, a Marion County judge ordered the gender designation on Davis’ birth certificate changed to “female” from “male,” to conform with Davis’ gender identity, legal name and appearance.

Davis and Angela Summers separated in 2008, and Davis filed for divorce in 2012.

Summers did not contest the divorce, and the couple reached a provisional order that granted custody of their child to Davis and required Summers pay child support.

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However, The Times of Munster reports that Monroe Circuit Judge Valeri Haughton rejected the divorce petition. Haughton ruled that the marriage was automatically invalidated when Davis’ birth certificate was changed, resulting in the union of two women.

Haughton said she could not dissolve a marriage that isn’t a legal marriage because it is already void under Indiana law.

But in Friday’s 3-0 decision, the appeals court overturned Haughton’s finding, finding that Davis and Summers’ marriage remains valid.

The court ruled the marriage must be dissolved through traditional means because at the time of their wedding Davis and Summers fully complied with Indiana’s marriage law, which reads, “Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female.”

Appeals Judge Paul Mathias said Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage does not apply in this case because Davis and Summers did not enter into a same-sex marriage. He also said there is no state provision that voids a legal marriage simply because one of the parties in that marriage changes his or her gender.

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13 more reader comments:

  1. Take that Indy! I don’t like the anti-gay people in our state.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 4:18pm
  2. Halfway there

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 4:39pm
  3. yeah but adultery and abuse on children and women is acceptable in their R.A.T. cult [Republiclan American Tealiban]

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 4:42pm
  4. OR ANY STATE!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 4:50pm
  5. one step at a time

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 5:10pm
  6. Cool!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 5:16pm
  7. I think all the states show allow same sex bc it doesn’t matter what you are as long as your are happy with yourself for who you are. Take pride in yourself and stand up for what you believe in :)

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 5:26pm
  8. I guess a step n d rite direction

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 5:53pm
  9. I think that just means they do not actually see us as “actually gay” or “really a man/woman”, unfortunately. They do not consider us “same sex” married it sounds like, which is just really invalidating to the very identity/gender of transgender people.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 6:15pm
  10. This is good, since transgender marriage rights are further behind than homosexual rights.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 6:16pm
  11. As transgendered women i would never have a same sex marriage,also this should have nothing to do with the same sex marriage laws

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 7:30pm
  12. Yesssssssssssssssss. ouo

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 8:03pm
  13. When will the IN court rule that IN must uphold the US Constitution and recognize/permit same sex civil marriage?

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 8:18pm