Does Texas Allow Transgender Marriages? - The Houston Family Law Blog

The Houston Family Law Blog

Does Texas Allow Transgender Marriages?

There's much debate among Texas family law attorneys on whether the state should have issued a marriage license to a transgender woman who wanted to marry her long-time girlfriend. There are state laws that clearly ban gay marriage, but what about transgender marriage?

The Austin Statesman reports that a woman named Sabrina Hill used to be a man before her sex change operation. On her New York birth certificate, she is listed as a man named Virgil. Yet on her Arizona driver's license, she is listed as a female. It raises the question of how sex should even be determined in marriage cases.

El Paso County legally allowed Sabrina Hill to marry Therese Bur in San Antonio on Monday, but now the county is asking Attorney General Greg Abbott to get involved in the case. In 2009, the Legislature changed the Texas state law to allow a birth certificate to be a legal form of identification when getting married.

"Hill's 'true and accurate birth certificate' identifies him as a male. Based on [court precedent], Hill is immutably and irrevocably a male, and under Texas law can marry a female," El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal wrote in a statement.

Jo Anne Bernal has asked Greg Abbott for advice with this case. The attorney general has agreed to give his formal opinion on the matter, which can carry great weight in the courts, which make the ultimate decision on the meaning of state laws. If Greg Abbott decides that Sabrina Hill's marriage is valid, then it can open the door for similar marriages between transsexuals in the state of Texas.

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