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Texas trying to repeal law that allows transgender people to marry

Texas Republicans are trying to repeal a two-year-old law that allows transgendered people to to marry with a court-approved proof of sex change, as the Associated Press reported Monday.

Texas was one of the last states to make this move in 2009, but lawmakers are on a mission to set the record straight on gay marriage, which was officially banned the same year.

Sen. Tommy Williams (R-Houston) and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) have authored similar bills, Senate Bill 723 and House Bill 3098, respectively, which would prevent county and district clerks from recognizing a sex change as documentation to obtain a marriage license, which according to AP, would force the state to recognize a 1999 state appeals court decision that declared that, in the case marriage, gender is assigned at birth and thus can never be changed.

Williams’ bill — which passed through the Senate Jurisprudence Committee earlier this month and now awaits approval by the full Senate – basically removes the words “or sex change” from the listed documents needed to obtain a marriage license.

The House version, which has not moved out of the Public Health Committee since March, requires photo identification to get a marriage license. Scratched along with several materials that are currently accepted to prove one’s identity and age required for the issuance of a license is “an original or certified copy of a court order relating to the applicant’s name change or sex change.”

From the AP:

Some advocates for the transgendered say that even if the legislation is passed, transgendered people could still get marriage licenses using other state and federally-issued documents such as a drivers’ license or passport. But without the weight of a court order officially recognizing their gender reassignment, they worry any legal challenge, such as a divorce or estate dispute, would nullify the marriage.”

[...]

“It appears the goal is to try to enshrine a really horrifying ruling and making it law in the state of Texas,” said John Nechman, a Houston attorney whose law firm does work for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.

Gov. Rick Perry’s spokesman Mark Miner said the governor never intended to allow transgendered people to get married. He said the three-word sex-change provision was sneaked through on a larger piece of legislation Perry signed two years ago regarding marriage licensing rules for county and district clerks. Perry, a Republican, supports efforts to “clarify the unintended consequences” of that law, Miner said.

Though lawmakers are working to clarify laws restricting LGBT rights in the state, as The Texas Independent previously reported, they haven’t made any attempt to remove certain statutes in state law that have already been declared unconstitutional, such as an archaic anti-sodomy statute (ruled unconstitutional in 2003), which made it a Class C misdemeanor if a person “engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex,” punishable by a maximum fine of $500.

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