Same-Sex Divorce?


From the cart-before-the-horse department comes this case in Houston, where a person insists she is a woman but his/her wife wants a divorce court to decide. Linda Gail Carter, formerly James H. Murphy, has been ordered to undergo genetic testing to in order to assign a gender.

Mr. Murphy became Ms. Carter in May 1998, several months before she married Constance D. Gonzales in Las Vegas. But Carter's driver's license indicates she is a man and witnesses claim that Carter has dressed as a man on occasion since 2002. Further, Carter's employees at Veterans Funeral Services claim that Carter has conducted marriage ceremonies as a man. (Really wish there was more on that.)

Court watchers seem to think that if Carter is shown to be a man, then it is possible for the union to be dissolved under Texas law.

In short, we ain't seen nothing yet.

NEXT: Big Flabby Buttocks

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  1. She’s insisting she’s a woman because she wants the marriage annulled which would mean the other spouse gets nothing. Texas is a community property state. If she gets a divorce, the community property will be split up per “just and right” division. On the other hand, if the marriage is annulled, there is no splitting up of community property because there never was any community property (because there never was a valid marriage)… so he errr… she… will get to keep a lot more money. That’s what this is about in case you didn’t read between the lines.

  2. Why bother testing? Murphy was clearly a man at the time the contract (marriage license) was signed, and thus is a man for the purpose of the contract.

  3. The history of divorce law might provide the best model for the likely evolution for gay marriage.

    In the past, divorce laws like marriage laws varied from state to state. Then the constitutional issue was how a state could dissolve a contract created under the laws of another state (or even country). States got around the problem by setting residency requirements of several years before the state would grant a divorce of a marriage created in another jurisdiction.

    The system fell apart when first Mexico and then Nevada set extremely short residency requirements. These localities effectively created “divorce tourism” making money off people who traveled there to get a divorce. California became the first major state to liberalize its divorce laws in large part because the states proximity to Nevada and Mexico effectively nullified its own laws.

    I think a similar effect may occur with gay marriage. If people can travel to a locality, get married then return home easily, then states without laws for gay marriage laws will find their laws effectively nullified.

  4. Another fine case from a few years ago:

    To summarize:

    * Person born in Wisconsin as a man
    * Person marries a woman, gets divorced.
    * Person gets sex change operation, amends Wisconsin birth certificate
    * Person marries a (wealthy) man in Kansas
    * Person’s husband dies intestate a year later. Person inherits.
    * Dead husband’s estranged son contests will on several grounds, including that under Kansas law, someone who was a man at birth is a man and so his father’s marriage was void.
    * Person rebuts that gender was legally changed under Wisconsin law, that the marriage was valid under Wisconsin law, and that Kansas should abide by full-faith-and-credit etc.
    * Court sides against person, summarizing “Pursuant to K.S.A. 2001 Supp. 23-101, a marriage between a post-operative male-to-female transsexual and a man is void as against public policy.”

  5. Truth is stranger than Fact…Hee Haw

    Annul a marriage made under false pretense,
    bad contract.

  6. Joe,

    Murphy (It) was not clearly a man at the time of the issuance of the license. It presented a valid driver’s license with a female name and identity, though It was dressed as a man at the time. There is a still a legal question of what sex It is.

  7. Murphy/Carter was enough of a man to get a license to marry a woman. Under current Nevada law, only a man can marry a woman.


    You’re talking about states giving “full faith and credit” to each others legal actions. However, this doctrine is binding on court decisions, but not on administrative licenses – your permit to carry a gun in Texas won’t save you if that gun is banned in Massachusetts. A divorce is a legal proceeding, in a court of law. A marriage is a license.

  8. Obviously, the issue is premarital sex. If the woman (that is, the one that was born a woman) had insisted on checking the pipes before buying, she would know exactly what model she was getting into. Essentially, if the relevant equipment was removed, then she did indeed marry a woman by accident and the marriage contract was fraudulent and unenforceable.

    Alternatively, if all members were present, her case is somewhat weaker. However, in the Catholic Church, at least, failure to consumate is grounds for annulment, if nothing else.

  9. Does the law recognize a difference between gender (man-woman) and sex (male-female)?

    I recall how Clinton used to interchange the two trms when discussing DOMA.

    Of course, this might just be another case of defining “is”…. ?

    How does self-affirmed sexual orientation intersect with legal recognition of gender and/or sex?

  10. The “ideal” marraige amendment; I am certain Eric and Andrew would approve:

    A. Marriage shall not impede a man’s right to take concubines in
    addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron

    B. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a
    virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut

    C. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be
    forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

    D. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the
    constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be
    construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

    E. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry
    the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother’s widow or
    deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one
    shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law.
    (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

    F. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your
    town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with
    him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men
    young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of
    course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

  11. Jean Bart knows his religion!

    Marriage has always been a serious matter!

    What if vows said until one of us decides to part.
    That would be realistic and practical.

  12. He’s just looking at the ‘where to find it’ pages in his Gideon’s Bible.

  13. Get ready for the next revolution: Beastiamony!

    Now that gays can marry it is up to the progressives out there to pick up the reigns of moving forward to help all those under the tyranny of people that think it is “evil” that man should marry animal. Stay out of my barn president Bush!

    Beastimony rights now, and forever!!!
    -Inter-species Marriage Rights Council

  14. 1) Animals don’t have civil rights.

    2) Animals can’t consent to a contract.

    3) Go fuck yourself.

  15. “We’re here, we f*ck squirrels, get USED to it!”

  16. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/21/2004 06:21:40
    A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

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