It looks like Nikki Araguz probably won’t be entitled to any money of her deceased husband’s estate, as a Texas judge is expected to declare her marriage to Thomas Araguz void. This can be seen as sad news for the transgender community in Texas, but Araguz isn’t walking away from court without a fight. She has stated that she will take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if she has to.
Thomas Araguz died last year while battling a blaze as a firefighter, reports Associated Press. Since the firefighter’s death, the mother of the victim has filed a lawsuit, arguing that Nikki Araguz shouldn’t receive any death benefits because Nikki Araguz is a transgender woman, who was born a male. Because same-sex marriage is illegal in the state of Texas, attorneys representing the mother have argued that the marriage between Nikki and Thomas Araguz is invalid and that the entire $600,000 should go to Thomas Araguz’s two young sons, who he had from a previous marriage.
This case has been quite controversial, but based on a draft decision, District Judge Randy Clapp has determined that the marriage was void as a matter of law and that Thomas Araguz was not actually married at the time of his death.
As of Thursday, the final version of the order has not yet been released.
Nikki Araguz will wait for the final version of the decision before moving forward with legal action, but ABC News reports that the transgender widow has already stated that she will "absolutely appeal this ruling" if her marriage is found to be invalid.
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