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Is Prior Harris County Case a Clue to Transgender Case Result?

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2010 | Divorce

Last week, we left you with a post on a debate-provoking case involving the Araguz family. Thomas Araguz, a Texas firefighter, died earlier this month and left behind a widow, Nikki Araguz. His family, however, is trying to annul the marriage between him and Nikki because they claim Nikki’s gender makes the marriage void.

As you likely remember from last week, Nikki was born as a boy but went through procedures in order to live as a woman. Because she and Thomas married in Texas, however, Nikki is now likely to have a court tell her that she never was a wife or lost a husband; legally, Nikki could never have been married to a man.

That judgment in favor of the annulment is likely because, according to a Fox report, a similar case seeking to vacate a divorce was presented before a Harris County judge last year and produced the same result. 

A Texas couple, Jennifer Jack and Andrew Mireles, agreed to divorce and did so in 2005, but Jack challenged the divorce after the fact. When she allegedly discovered that her ex-husband was born a girl, she asked that the court not even recognize them as divorced because they should never have been recognized as being married.

In that case, the judge ruled in favor of voiding the marriage based on the Texas law discussed in our previous post: Texas does not recognize the ability to change genders; nor does the state allow same-sex marriages.

Similar arguments were brought up in that case as in the current Araguz case regarding the spouse’s knowledge of a gender change. Jack argued that she did not know about Mireles’ birth gender, and Mireles claims that Jack did know before the wedding.

According to a legal analyst, in both the prior case and the current transgender case, those facts are not relevant to the court’s decision. Texas law about same-sex marriage does not change whether a spouse knew or approved of a gender change or not.

If the legal expert is right, then it will be a surprise if the Araguz case does not end in an annulled marriage.  


My Fox Houston: It’s Happened Before: Transgender Couple


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