Many of us here in the Lone Star State and nationally remember the 1999 Littleton v. Prange case and the 2000 J'Noel Gardiner case in Kansas in which transpeople had DOMA used against them to invalidate their legal marriages as the spouses of their deceased husbands who stood to gain large sums of money.
In Christie Lee Littleton's case, DOMA was applied retroactively to do so and keep her from collecting a multimillion dollar malpractice judgment in a case she filed on behalf of her late husband.
Now comes word of another Texas case in which the relatives of the deceased are seeking to invalidate the legal marriage of a couple so they can get control of a substantial chunk of cash.
Nikki Araguz married Wharton Fire Capt. Thomas Araguz III in August 2008. He died fighting a major egg farm fire in Wharton, TX, just southwest of Houston on July 3.
Nikki Araguz's gender business was leaked during a custody dispute with Thomas Araguz's ex wife Heather Delgado, who is the mother of their two children.
Since Capt. Araguz was killed while on duty, the estate will be substantial. He also died without a will.
Drawing on the odious precedent set in Littleton, Araguz's parents have filed a lawsuit that will be heard in Wharton County court on Friday. The parents are seeking to keep Nikki Araguz from receiving death benefits as his widow by annulling her marriage.
If that happens, they would become executors of their son's estate and designate those benefits go to his surviving kids.
The kids deserve some of that cash, but this is an ugly no-win way to go about getting it.
One ray of hope in this case is that only the spouse has legal standing to file these types of suits, and that's Nikki. There's a possibility it could be thrown out on that basis.
I'm expecting this to not turn out well, but I'm keeping hope alive that I might be shocked by the outcome.