chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
June 01, 2016

Obergefell and Transgender Marriage

Almost any writer or reporter, activist or newscaster speaks of Obergefell as a win for lesbians and gays. It goes without saying that the win was equally valuable for bisexuals who are currently in a same-sex relationship. But it also affects transgenders who are married or who will become married; thus, Obergefell must be seen as an LGBT win, not merely and LG win.

A transgender may enter an opposite-sex relationship, but after transition be in a same-sex relationship. Or the TG person may begin in a same-sex relationship, and after transition be in an opposite-sex relationship. As an example, a female to male (FTM) person still living as a woman may marry a man: this couple is viewed by society as being heterosexual. Later, after this FTM transitions to become the transman that his brain told him he was meant to be, and if the husband stays true to his marriage vow, these two men will be seen by society as a homosexual couple. Or if another FTM still living as a woman “partnered” with another woman, the couple was seen as homosexual. Later, after this FTM transitions to become the transman that his brain told him he was meant to be, and if the female partner stays true to her vow, this transman and woman will be seen by society as a heterosexual couple.

Before Obergefell, the first heterosexual couple could get legally married and remain so after the transition as, I would argue, no one had standing to challenge the validity of the marriage. But the second homosexual couple, after transition and appearing to be heterosexual, a legal marriage was an uncertainly due to the phobia of some states’ legislative laws or judicial rulings. *This is explained in great detail in “Same-Sex Marriages Have Existed Legally in the United States for a Long Time Now,” 64 ALBANY L. REV. 1031 (2001)

In my personal life, I have been married to the same woman for 43 years. I was a man for our first three, legally married years, and she remained true to her vow and with me since. Before Obergefell, I felt certain that our marriage could withstand a challenge, but you never know when one married partner dies and the family gets a chance to challenge in probate for the right to the deceased’s property. And you never know when one partner is seriously ill and an insurance company sees the opportunity to drop that person from the other’s insurance. And we were uncertain what Social Security would do with our marriage when one of us passed.

When Obergefell was announced last year, my wife and I felt like a burden was lifted from our 43 year marriage. Under Obergefell, no one could ever challenge our marriage.Truly Obergefell is a victory for the entire LGBT AND T community.

"Littleton, 9SW3d 223, 1999 and
 later Araguz, WL 576085 (Tex. App.-- Corpus Christi) 2014

Phyllis Randolph Frye

Phyllis Randolph Frye is an Eagle Scout, a former member of the TEXAS A&M Corps of Cadets, a US Army Veteran (1LT-RA 1970-72), a licensed attorney, a father, a grandmother,
and a lesbian wife.  She is the first, out, transgender judge in the nation. Ms. Frye is also known as the "grandmother of the national transgender legal and political movement" and was featured on the front page, above the fold, of the August 31, 2015, New York Times.