A Texas appeals court has vindicated Nikki Araguz Loyd by once again validating the transgender woman’s marriage to her firefighter husband, five years after he died battling a blaze in Houston.
The ruling Friday by the 13th Texas Court of Appeals, reported by Houston TV station KTRK, sent the case back to a Wharton County judge who originally voided the marriage and deprived Araguz Loyd of her rights as Thomas Araguz's widow to his estate.
"It's the most beautiful twist of karma,” Araguz Loyd told KTRK. “The judge who so viciously ruled against me now has to reverse his own ruling.”
Araguz Loyd’s legal battle began in 2011, a year after Araguz died, when his ex-wife and mother successfully had his marriage to Araguz Loyd invalidated by Judge Randy Clapp.
But as The Advocate reported in February 2014, the appeals court ruled the marriage was valid due to a change in the Texas Family Law code that states that a person who has had gender confirmation surgery is eligible to marry a person of the opposite sex. It reaffirmed that decision Friday, following a decision by the Texas Supreme Court to not hear an appeal of last year's ruling.
Araguz Loyd now stands to collect more than half a million dollars in death benefits.
“It’s never been about money,” said Araguz Loyd. “It was not about money when I married my husband. It certainly was not about money when I buried him."
Watch the report from KTRK, below.