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Transgender divorce

That sound you hear is another can of worms fixing to be opened.

James Scott and Rebecca Robertson started married life quietly with a small church wedding.

Thirteen years later, their union is ending — not so quietly. Robertson wants a court to declare the marriage void. Scott prefers a divorce.

The complicating factor: Scott was born a woman, and same-sex marriage is illegal in Texas. How can there be a divorce, Robertson reasoned, when there legally was no marriage?

Last month, a Dallas judge denied Robertson’s request for a summary judgment voiding the marriage, setting the stage for a court battle to clarify whether transgendered people can legally marry in Texas.

It’s a clarification many don’t feel is needed, said Shannon Minter, an attorney with the Transgender Law and Policy Institute in Washington.

“Tens of thousands of transgendered people get married and have no problem ever,” said Minter, who counts himself in that category. “That is the practical reality across the country.”

But the fight over same-sex marriage has called that reality into question.

Go read the whole complicated story. We’ve discussed gay divorce, and we’ve discussed transgender marriage, both of which come with a fair amount of pending litigation, all of which I expect will eventually wind up before the Supreme Court. Texas’ statutes are somewhat contradictory and allow for these situations to happen depending on whether one uses a birth certificate or a drivers license to verify one’s identity. Needless to say, we would not have any of these problems if the state were to recognize the folly of restricting marriage based on one’s gender and just let two consenting adults be allowed to do what two consenting adults ought to be free to do, but that ain’t where we are. Until that fine day, county clerks and district court judges are going to have their hands full.

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