Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Transexual Marriage in Florida. A Florida court of appeals very recently published an opinion involving the marriage of a transexual "man" to a woman. The "man" had been born a female, but had various kinds of drastic surgery, took male hormones, and was able to pass successfully as a man in "his" community. "He"participated in a marriage ceremony with a woman who had a child from a previous relationship. The "man" then adopted that child. Later, the woman was impregnated artificially. The "donor" of the sperm was the brother of the "man". She gave birth to a second child.

The "marriage" did not last and divorce proceedings commenced. Child custody questions arose. The mother wanted exclusive custody of the two children. She took the position that she and her spouse were not really married in the first place, because they both were females. She asked that the marriage be annulled and that the adoption be invalidated. That would have cut off any rights in the "man" to visit or have custody of the children. (Guess who gets damaged the most in all of this.)

The trial court rejected the wife's argument and ruled that the "man" was sufficiently male to make a valid marriage. The judge made a number of somewhat compelling findings that I will not describe here. But the court of appeals reversed the decision based on Florida's marriage protection law (the same sort of law that the social conservatives are trying to pass as a Constitutional amendment). They also cited Florida prohibition of homosexual adoption.

I am sure that the "man" will take the matter to our left-leaning Florida Supreme Court. The court of appeals said that this question is one for the legislature, not for the courts. Our Florida Supreme Court, in the "end of life" area, has said that it is the last word, not the legislature. This is the same Florida Supreme Court that rewrote Florida's election laws in such an intellectually dishonest way that the US Supreme Court felt it had to clean up the mess, itself creating its own mess on the national level. So it will be interesting to see what the Florida Supreme Court will do with this case.

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