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How Texas May Accidentally Legalize Some Same-Sex Marriages

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Republican legislators in the theocratic Republic of Texas have once again demonstrated that they are dumber collectively than they are separately. They are in the process of passing a law that would refuse to recognize sex change operations for transgendered people when it comes to marriages, without thinking through how it may actually legalize same-sex marriages for some.

The legislation is sponsored by a particularly dim-witted Republican, Senator Tommy Williams. Sorry, people, but it is hard to take a grown man who calls himself by the juvenile derivative of his name seriously. Little Tommy says he is sponsoring the legislation to repeal a 2009 law that recognized sex change operations for gender reassignment. County clerks would be prohibited from recognizing court orders recognizing a sex change. Tommy says this is to clean up a loophole because Theopublicans previously passed a constitutional measure to ban marriages for gay people. As Little Tommy says, "The Texas Constitution clearly defines marriage between one man and one woman."

Governor Rick Perry claims he only signed the previous legislation recognizing sex changes because it "sneaked through" in legislation regarding marriage licensing rules. Governor Perry seems to be confessing that neither he nor Republican members of the legislature actually bother to read legislation they pass into law. Perry spokesman, Mark Miner, repeated the mantra of the zombies of the Religious Right: "The governor has always believed and advocated that marriage is between a man and a woman."

Now, let me explain how this measure can actually legalize same-sex marriage.

Let me use the example of a friend of mine who is transgendered and has had sexual reassignment surgery to become a woman. She is also a lesbian. With this law she would be able to go to Texas and marry another woman. County clerks would be forced to ignore all legal documents regarding her sex change and would have to recognize her male status at birth.

My friend came to visit me for a few days for vacation and was not feeling well, so I took her to the clinic. The physician checked her out and then needed to put an address on the prescription form. I was called in to give mine. I gave him the information and he dismissed me but my friend said it was fine for me to stay. The doctor had a few questions for her including some that clearly indicated he thought she was born female. I didn't say anything. As we left the office my friend told me: "I find it easier to answer the questions without explaining because it takes less time."

This was a physician who assumed she had always been a woman. Little Tommy says he is passing his law because recognizing sex change operations, something Texas was at the end of the line in doing, was confusing county clerks who were unsure whether to accept court documents regarding sex changes. Little Tommy says, "They shouldn't have to resolve these issues. We have confused them."

Apparently, this law unconfuses them. So let us imagine this scenario. My friend meets a lesbian from Texas and runs off to Dallas to marry. The couple walks into the county clerk's office for a marriage license. The clerk sees two women standing there and informs them that under the Texas constitution, blah, blah, and more Baptist blah. They hand over a document showing my friend had a sex change and inform the clerk that under Texas law she has to ignore the evidence of her senses and assume that the woman standing in front of her is actually a man. Little Tommy says this will remove the confusion? Hilarious!

The inspiration for the law appears to the case of Nikki Araguz, who had gender reassignment, and later married a man. Her husband, Thomas, was a volunteer firefighter who was killed in the line of duty. The day after his burial his family filed a lawsuit to strip Nikki from her husband's will and claim his estate for themselves. They argued that since Nikki had undergone sexual reassignment she was really a man and the relationship violated the laws of Texas forbidding gay marriage.

They claim, as hard as it is to believe, that Thomas never knew of the surgery. I might note that if Thomas Araguz was married to Nikki in a typical, loving, relationship, and died "thinking" she was a woman then apparently Little Tommy's law will not remove confusion from the clerks.

Two different cases, one theoretical and one real, illustrate the absurdity of the legislation in question. Under the law, Nikki, who is transgendered but straight (that is, sees herself as female but is sexually attracted to men) would be forbidden from marrying her husband. So the county clerk would have to reject the license for what appears to be a male/female couple.

If my friend showed up with a woman the same clerk would have two people standing before her, who both appear to be women. Even an anatomical inspection would seem to indicate they were. But under the new Texas law the clerk would be required to give them a marriage license.

The clerk would send away the male/female couple while handing a license over to the female/female couple. And Little Tommy Williams says the purpose of this is to stop same-sex marriage and end confusion. There is an iron law of state bureaucratic interference that indicates that legislation they pursue has consequences entirely unintended by the central planners. This Republican legislation would allow gay couples to marry, provided one of them is transgendered, while forbidding straight couples to marry, if one of them is transgendered. And this, they think, makes matters less confusing.