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Transgender Widow Turned Down for Marriage License

Transgender Widow Turned Down for Marriage License

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Nikki Araguz, who has been fighting to receive death benefits after her firefighter husband died on the job, is now seeking to remarry but is having problems with Texas law again.

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Transgender woman Nikki Araguz, who is seeking to claim her late husband's death benefits, is waging another legal battle in Texas, seeking to marry again.

Araguz and her fiance, William Lloyd, were denied a marriage license by the Harris County Clerk's office in Houston Thursday, TV station KVUE reports. Texas law considers her male, even though she presented a document certifying her gender transition, and does not allow same-sex marriage. Also, although Araguz has obtained an amended birth certificate identifying her as female, Texas goes by the original birth certificate, which designates her as male.

"This is an acceptable form of identification according to your 2009 family code but you're denying me" a marriage license, Araguz said to the employee in the clerk's office, according to KVUE. "The constitution will trump the family code," the employee replied, referring to the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas's constitution.

Araguz was previously married to firefighter Thomas Araguz, who died during a blaze in Wharton County, Texas, in 2010. She has been fighting his family in court in an effort to receive death benefits. In 2011 a judge denied her the benefits, saying the marriage was invalid. Her appeal will be will be heard by the 13th Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi.

Meanwhile, Araguz said she and Lloyd will have a marriage ceremony after the hearing, whether or not they obtain a license. She is also the subject of a documentary film currently in production.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.