Legitimacy of Transgender Woman's Marriage Discussed in Court

The question of the legitimacy of a couple's marriage is now in the hands of the 13th Court of Appeals here in Corpus Christi.

It involves Nikki Araguz, a transgender widow of a Wharton County firefighter. She has been battling his family over the nearly half-million dollars in benefits he left behind, but the family said that because Araguz was born a male rather than a female, she should be denied those benefits.

Both sides were given about 15 minutes to present their case before three justices. The attorney's for the Araguz family argued the point that Nikki Araguz was born a male in California and that her original birth certificate proved that. The attorney also told the justices that she appealed and was allowed to revise the status on the certificate to female after Mr. Araguz died.

After the hearing, Nikki Araguz's attorney, Allie Levy, spoke to 3News.

"I feel very good about the case. I feel very good about the court," Levy said. "I think they had some extremely important questions. I hope I answered them thoroughly, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they decide."

The justices did not rule on the case. Instead, they said this is a complicated issue that they will review and issue their findings at a later date; but right after the hearing, to the surprise of many, Nikki Araguz tied the knot again, just outside the Nueces County Courthouse.

3News has learned that it was Nikki's third marriage.

The representative of the Nueces County Clerk's Office, which is in charge of issuing marriage licenses, said the couple did not get its license in this county, adding that, if the couple's driver's licenses identifies one as a male and the other a female, they can issue a license.

Nikki's license, according to her attorney, identifies her as a female.


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