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Family of deceased firefighter suing to invalidate his marriage so widow can't collect benefits, thoughts?

The family of a southeast Texas firefighter killed in a July 4 blaze has sued to void his marriage to his transgender widow and prevent her from getting his death benefits because she was born a man and Texas doesn't recognize same-sex marriages.

The attorney for the mother of Thomas Araguz III said Thursday that the firefighter only learned of his wife's gender history and after he found out, he moved out of their home and planned to end the marriage.

But a tearful Nikki Araguz said her marriage was not a fraud.

"I'm absolutely devastated about the loss of my husband. I'm horrified at the horrendous allegations accusing me of fraud. They are absolutely not true," Araguz, 35, told reporters during a brief statement at a news conference.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_firefighter_transgender_widow

 
sweet-a-kins

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 10:20 PM on Jul. 22, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • "Personally, I think I the transgender spouse should get the benefits. The marriage was never dissolved or annulled. I think all people should be able to marry, but that's another topic altogether. This marriage should have been annulled (which means that the marriage never existed to begin with) but that never happened, so the spouse should get the benefits."

    I agree as well. Now IF the family could prove the firefighter entered the marriage under a fraudulent basis, I would understand. IF, (big IF) he absolutely didn't know she was transgender, I would consider the marriage fraudulent. However, that would be difficult to prove since the firefighter is dead and cannot testify.
    mancosmomma

    Answer by mancosmomma at 10:42 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • If they could show proof that he was indeed leaving her. Like he was in the process of getting divorce papers set up, or something like that, then she shouldn't get the money.
    So, does that mean that the family will be getting his money? It sounds like to me that they have a problem with the women 's past. Man, woman, whatever the firefighter got married because of love.
    Do you know how long they had been married.
    armywife2009101

    Answer by armywife2009101 at 10:24 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • I was thinking... were they married in Texas? I ask this because maybe that can be proof whether or not it was fraudulent. We know Texas doesn't have same sex marriage, so they would have had to obtain a marriage license out of state, which would prove he knew she was transgender. Or if they did get married in Texas then it would have been a non legal marriage.
    Crissy1213

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 11:12 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • As long as the wife is post op, the family can get their monthly handout some other way. What assholes regardless. The couple was living together at the time of death, and this is how they show their grief - air their grudges with the wife.

    I hope she sues the shit out of them and wins. I find it ludicrous that they are calling her a money grabber.

    This sounds like mom and pop were pissed about the marriage, sonny told them to F off, and this is their way of tossing back their own FU.
    LiliM

    Answer by LiliM at 1:34 AM on Jul. 23, 2010

  • Wow - that's complicated. I can see both sides and I just don't know which side I fall on. Some married spouses are separated but something happens, and since the marriage was never dissolved, the surviving spouse lawfully got the money. But since Texas doesn't recognize transgender marriages, I don't know if this was ever a lawful marriage to begin with. Wow - this is tough.

    Personally, I think I the transgender spouse should get the benefits. The marriage was never dissolved or annulled. I think all people should be able to marry, but that's another topic altogether. This marriage should have been annulled (which means that the marriage never existed to begin with) but that never happened, so the spouse should get the benefits.
    dinaca81

    Answer by dinaca81 at 10:27 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • Well thats hard. I can't really make any assumptions because the man is dead. So, to me it is only speculation that he wanted to end his marriage. I think if she has legal documentation of him wanting her to have his benefits/assets then she should have them. If his family can undeniably prove he was divorcing her regardless of why then thats different.
    Crissy1213

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 10:38 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • If she's post-op transgender she is female. It is not a same sex marriage. They can maybe get a judge who doesn't believe in that whole church and state thing to play along if she's not completely post-op, but unless Texas also outlaws hermaphrodite marriage, it's none of the inlaws' (who would conveniently get all the money if they win) business what organs she has.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 10:40 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • If it was an illegal marriage in the first place, then they can't say they were legally married.


    The family should win this one easily.

    Natesmom507

    Answer by Natesmom507 at 1:01 AM on Jul. 23, 2010

  • THIS is why it needs to be FEDERAL LAW in the first darn place. IF they got married in another state where it IS legal they move to a state where its not and its like they were never married. The family is out for the money period. I hope the widow sues them.
    pnwmom

    Answer by pnwmom at 2:44 AM on Jul. 23, 2010

  • It's sick and sad that this is happening. This woman lost her husband less then a month ago, and his asshole family is coming in telling her she's a fraud. She's had sexual reassignment surgery, sadly, there is a ruling in Texas in 1999 that says chromosomes, not genitals, determine legal sex.
    Also, the parents will not get his benefits. He has two children from a previous marriage who would be considered his heirs and would inherit any estate.
    Jenny-talia

    Answer by Jenny-talia at 8:54 AM on Jul. 23, 2010