Skip to comments.Sex change thrust couple into same-sex marriage debate (Barf alert)
Posted on 01/23/2005 8:52:09 PM PST by Cracker72
Photo by The Associated Press
CONCORD - Judi Howden found happiness in her second marriage, but only after a struggle with issues that have destroyed other families and divided the nation.
With Michael Howden, she had love, another child and a home. It took all three to keep the family together as Michael became Mikayla.
They married nearly four years ago. Mikayla changed her name in 2003 and underwent a sex change in September. The act transformed them into a legally married same-sex couple, despite a ban on such unions in 40 states, including New Hampshire.
Whether or not society will acknowledge our marriage, I think, is my biggest fear, Judi Howden said. That someday, someone may pass legislation that says, Because you are now two females, you are no longer married. For anyone to say that they have the right to break up a family, I dont think is right.
Judi Howden said her mind initially slammed shut when she learned the man she was dating intended to become a woman. But thinking about separation ultimately proved even more difficult.
There was so strong of a connection for Mikayla and I, she said. I never knew that there was such a relationship out there in the world.
The couples experience highlights a legal Catch-22. States can either recognize or refuse to recognize someones new gender after a sex change. Either decision inescapably permits some form of same-sex marriage.
Recognition lets existing, heterosexual marriages like the Howdens become same-sex. Denying recognition permits new same-sex marriages - like one between Judi and Mikayla if they were to marry today - because the spouses genders differ only on paper, not visibly.
I have no answer to it, said state Rep. Dan Itse, R-Fremont, who supports the states same-sex marriage ban. We have ventured where angels fear to tread.
Apart from Mikayla Howdens gender change, her familys Concord home is like many across middle America. There are prayers at meal times. One parent works while the other stays home with the kids. There are childrens toys in every room.
But for Mikayla Howden, who likened her prior condition to a birth defect, treating a medical problem created a series of legal ones. She does not yet know if the government will recognize her as legally female, and fears the effects same-sex marriage laws could have on her family.
According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights in California, four states dont permit gender updates: Tennessee, Ohio, Kansas and Texas. About half of the remaining states do. A firm policy hasnt been legally well established in the remaining states, including New Hampshire, said Shannon Minter, the centers legal director.
The federal government must decide if Mikayla Howden, a U.S. citizen born overseas, can update her birth certificate. It hasnt yet ruled, and Minter said the Bush administration has not been as accommodating as earlier administrations.
The Howdens marriage clearly was legal when it began, and same-sex marriage bans cannot automatically invalidate it, Minter said, just as states dont automatically annul marriages for adultery or abuse.
But at least one conservative group would like to change that. The Rev. Louis Sheldon, founder and chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition in Washington, D.C., said marriages like the Howdens should be dissolved.
Absolutely, he said. We dont want the roof to leak in any place. We must make sure that marriage is protected.
Sheldons coalition, a lobby claiming more than 43,000 member churches, is crafting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions. The Howdens, he said, have slipped through a legal loophole.
Social conservatives often portray same-sex marriage as a moral issue, Mikayla Howden said. But she called changing her gender a life-and-death decision, not a lifestyle choice. Living as a man was fundamentally wrong, she said, and nearly led her to suicide.
What are you going to pick? You certainly hope for the point of wanting to pick life, she said. So many of us, because of society, choose death.
Transsexuals are not the only people who have sex-change operations. Surgery also is used to treat intersex conditions such as improperly formed genitalia.
Updating birth certificates is not the only legal challenge facing transsexuals.
State gay-marriage bans complicate such core activities as buying and inheriting property together or collecting insurance.
In 1999, a Texas appeals court upheld a ruling against a transsexual who became a woman and married a man. The court ruled the marriage an invalid union of two men, denying the transsexual money from a wrongful death settlement after her husband died.
Cases in Florida and Illinois are addressing whether transsexuals who have become men are legally fathers of children who were born through artificial insemination or adopted into their families while they were married.
In California, a transsexual who became a woman is challenging a ruling that denied her husband citizenship because she was born male, Minter said.
The human consequences are really painful, she said.
For the Howdens, other difficulties arise daily. Mikayla Howden said she struggles with whether America is living up to its legacy of freedom while gays, lesbians and transsexuals face systematic legal discrimination. Sexuality, she said, shouldnt be part of the governments decisions.
Judi Howden said she struggles with being labeled a lesbian - one day accepting it, but resisting any label the next.
Its not this seedy little thing going on, she said. Were normal, everyday people.
They said the responsibilities of home and raising a family - a child of their own and two from Judi Howdens previous marriage - have helped them through tough emotional times. So has open, honest communication.
It isnt always easy, but its the most important, even when it comes to your fears, Judi Howden said. Because when you hold those fears inside, it doubles them.
BOTH are mentally ill. The gender-confused one AND the woman that married it anyway.
The big shame is that there are CHILDREN involved in this mess - my only real objection to same-sex marriages in the first place.
not one but both I think
They're both mentally ill, but in Concord who would notice?
Technically, one of them is still XX, and one is still XY.
Seems to me Michael doesn't exist anymore, and so Michael's marriage is over. Void. Non-existent.
Modernism at work.
A real life Pandora's Box.
Michael is still a guy, just with his dick cut off. He must have know that he had this "issue" before he got married, so it was a dirty trick to get married.
Wait... The one on the right used to be the he?
How little self esteem would you have to have, to stay with a spouse who tries to match your "plumbing"? It seems like the ultimate betrayal of the fundamental rules of the relationship.
If one of them grafted a tail onto their bodies, would that make this an interspecial marriage?
Surgical impersonation does not change the essence of what God has made.
I must pray hard for two who are so lost and ignorant of the damage they do to all the living.
The author of the article is lying. The state of florida has decided the issue. In divorce courts, they go by DNA. Born male is male no matter what the mutilation.
There is no controversy or loophole. If the birth certificate is changed then the law is clear. If the birth certificate is not changed then the law is clear. The DL does not change, the passport does not change.
Of course if they try and have it both ways then the law is also clear on perpetratig a fraud. In fact INS is very clear on these types of cases for perpetratig frauds.
The problem is: How do you define a man and how do you define a woman?
Chromosome counts? Then, what about intersexes?
Women, with androgen insensitivity syndrome, are assigned as girls at birth and grow up believing they are female. At puberty, they are amenstrual and they are discovered to be XY. Are they to be told they are to now be considered men, and can only marry another woman? Or worse, being told they are an 'it'?
What about girls with Turner's syndrome, female but with only one X chromosome, instead of being XX?
What about children with severe genital abnormalities? There are a significant number that were mis-assigned at birth. Some were assigned as females, because it was easier to give them a female genital appearance than male functionality. Likewise, some 'XX' babies with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), were so masculinized in their genital structure, that everyone believed they were actually boys.
How do we deal with with these cases?
IF THEY LIVE TO PUBERTY, since most don't, the issue is very very very doubtful to come up beyond mere hypotheticals.
This fool here is subject to a mental disease which even the faaaar left APA has included in their DSM IV. They treate the SYMPTOMS of the illness by mutilation.
seems like both conspired to perpetrate a fraud.
Sorry but no matter the cosmetics, it is still a man. A castrated man.
Just damn!! Do these people have larva eating their brains?
A name change does not void a marriage, nor does sexual mutilation. It as real a marriage as ever, even if they are wierd.
I told you guys around six months ago that if 'intersex' and 'transgender' issues were not address before you enacted these 'anti-homosexual marriage' state amendments that these issues were going to come back to bite you in the but.
But none of you wanted to listen.
I wonder when the GLBT organization is going to use AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) intersex people, in federal court, as a basis to throw 'anti-homosexual marriage' state amendments.
You got the logic for DSM IV reversed, those standards there to make sure the person legally sane (calm minded, non-violent, non-split personality, not bi-polar) before they can go forward with hormones, let alone surgery.
Mis-assigned or purposely re-assigned? It would seem to me that it is relatively easy to determine the genetic gender of a baby.
If the parents decide with the doctor's help to turn their son into a girl because they're afraid of the ribbing he will get with a small or deformed penis then that's shameful and should be illegal. Likewise for girl's born with male-looking genitalia.
I would consider sex re-assignment by one person against another, especially in the case of a controlling adult against a defenseless child, as a form of battery on the level of torture and mutilation no matter what the intentions.
With the recent advances in plastic surgery and a culture that is very willing to practice on younger and younger clients (e.g. breast enlargements for teens) the vast majority of these oddball cases should be eliminated.
"If the parents decide with the doctor's help to turn their son into a girl because they're afraid of the ribbing he will get with a small or deformed penis then that's shameful and should be illegal. Likewise for girl's born with male-looking genitalia."
The current medical thinking on treating infants, with ambiguous genitalia, is to wait until the child can tell their parents and physicians which gender they are. There have been a number of cases, where the decision was made at birth, where the wrong assignment was made. It was not for the reason of concern the child would be ribbed over their genitals, it was more of thinking the parents had to be able to think of the child as one definite gender.
I am personally in favor of a longer definition along the lines of "A valid marriage requires one person to be born male and remain male throughout the marriage while the other person must be born female and remain female throughout the marriage. If either or both undergo sex reassignment during the marriage then the marriage becomes null and void."
I believe that the Constitution is a very good place for defining the basic terms that underly our form of government and the minimal definitions needed to guide the society as a whole so as to be governable through a constitution. If we are going to take the time to define marriage in the constitution, or through the less effective forum of congressional legislation, then we should take the time to make it crystal clear.
After all, the tax code requires reams and reams of paper to describe in order to close all of the loopholes average citizens might be able to take advantage of while keeping all of the lobbyists' loopholes open wide enough to fly Lear Jets through.
And if the doctors are so concerned, then why not require genetic testing in doubtful cases and correctly inform the parents of their child's sex? At that point the parents could work with their child's given gender rather than against it.
Also since it is the majority belief that homosexuality is wrong, I believe that it is the responsibility of all people to make it clear what true gender they are before engaging in intimate relations.
If a teenager is attracted to another Christian teen and has been misinformed about his/her gender, then how can he/she represent him/herself correctly to a prospective suitor?
Of course in the future we will all be wearing unisex lycra jumpsuits and gender will be the least of our worries as people start dating intelligent octopi from the plant Zorkol!
That just it, because the laws are so vague that intersex people can be banned from marrying anyone this is how these amendments will be attacked.
Of course, I believe the government should have NO say on marriage one way or another when dealing with adults; it opens up too many doors for abuses of powers to have it any other way.
And with fake boobs, and pumped full of female whore moans so he acts/thinks/talks/looks like a female. Aside from the fact that while "his" face is still a bit manly, a few more years of whore moans should clear that right up. Then he will be a man who doesn't have a penis, look like a man, talk like a man, act like a man, think like a man, or do anything else like a man, except be missing the tail in one Chromosome.
But I guess this is a bit complicated for you. After all God ::snicker:: created man and woman ::snicker:: in His image ::snicker:: and so there's only two genders with nothing in between.
Applying the Bible to real life can be tricky. But when you side with the Bible against what is obvious in front of your face, how else can we describe that except as a mental illness? Some people just aren't cut out for reality, I guess. But you know, there are ways to avoid it that are less unpleasant for the rest of us (for instance: marijuana abuse)
"And if the doctors are so concerned, then why not require genetic testing in doubtful cases and correctly inform the parents of their child's sex? At that point the parents could work with their child's given gender rather than against it."
Gender identity does not always go along with genotype. The completely AIS women are a good esample. AIS women are phenotypically female. Partial AIS women may be born with somewhat ambiguous genitalia.
Again: Why not ask the child to which gender they should belong.
Part of me agrees with this. If we can come up with a way to eliminate the concept of marriage from all law, then it might work, but I believe that would be difficult.
Can we eliminate the concept of marriage from the tax code? Do we eliminate the age-old sanction of a spouse not being required to give testimony in court against the other spouse? Do we allow individual companies to decide when and when not to extend medical coverage to significant others? How do we protect children without mentioning marriage? etc.
I don't see any problem with defining criteria by which people can be considered to be congenitally transgendered, nor with providing that such people may seek to be regarded legally as either male or female.
Such definitions would allow an XY (androgen insensitive) woman to marry an XX woman, but I would think the number of XY women wanting to marry other women would be so small as to be negligible.
The remedy would be to provide that a person must have one of a number of characteristics to be called a man, and must have one of a number of other characteristics to be called a woman; a few people would have characteristics that would allow them to be called either. Those people, and those people alone, would be allowed the discretion to declare their sex.
Now how I actually know her is kind of am interesting story. One wouldn't think church would be a place a transsexual would turn up but that is where I met her. She had gone through the process, including surgery, of become "female" (note the "") before finding Jesus. She was attending Texas A&M and started attending the same church as I and in the same church college class. Now we already knew before she started attending because the pastor for the college group had explained to us. We all agreed that she should not be treated like a freak or outcast. After all, Jesus forgives all (but one) sin and if he was here today, he would not mistreat anyone regardless if of their past mistakes.
Now I'm as straight as can be and consider a transsexual to still be their original gender but the first time she came into our Sunday school class, I myself and just about every other male was stunned that she was drop dead gorgeous. Until the pastor introduced her, we all assumed she was a "real girl". It was impossible to tell either by looking at her or listening to her speak.
Now to make a long story short, she stayed with our church until she finished college and moved. During that time our group enjoyed a lot of fun times together and most of us were proud to call her our friend. One couldn't have met a kinder person and good Christian. However, I always felt sorry for her because she felt it would be wrong to get married, for the obvious reason. (She was talking about the moral and religious concerns, not legal ones.) As far as I know, she never dated once during her time at our church.
As I do for most of the people I've called my friends over the years, I still say a prayer for her and hope God will bring her peace and happiness she never seemed to really have.
Now I'm sure I'm going to get flamed. Some "holier than thou Christian" (I'm not referring to all Christians as I am obviously one but to those who actually seem to hate people that they consider to be "inferior Christians") will say we should have told her to buzz off and that she'll burn in hell no matter what. I guess I worship a different God than those kind of Christians. I believe what Jesus said to the Pharisees while having dinner with "tax collectors and sinner" at Matthew's house, the "Parable of Pharisee and the Tax Collector" and which one was more righteous, and when he said "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
I don't think that would work. Judi & Mikayla could meet after Mikayla changed, and they'd be to all the world a lesbian couple. But under your proposed language they'd be a legal marriage.
I think the problem is that biological reality doesn't provide the bright, easy line we wish it would. So any legal definition that tries to both enforce a bright, unambiguous line and to deny gay marriage will necessarily grind up those people who are born living too close to the line. (Whether plain gender dysphoric, or physically intersexed, or that TLA someone mentioned upstream that I'm too lazy to look up right now, etc. :-)
Considering the tax code punishes those who are married, why not.
Do we eliminate the age-old sanction of a spouse not being required to give testimony in court against the other spouse?
Simple solution here, we could just apply it to lovers (having sex) within a given grace period, say three months. Also, remember the law says a spouse can give testimony if they want to, they just don't have too.
Also, I believe someone should NOT be forced to give testimony, it voilates the 5th Ammendments of the Constitution.
Do we allow individual companies to decide when and when not to extend medical coverage to significant others?
True capitilism of choose will work this out.
How do we protect children without mentioning marriage? etc.
(sarcasm) Protect children from what... Their parents...(sarcasm end)
Government hurts children more often through "Child Welfare Services" than private citizens ever do; remember thsoe reports a year or so ago about all those HUNDREDS of children missing from FL "Child Welfare Services" that they could not account for.
Your solution is quite... vague...
I believe it is better to ask the child than the parents, but you can't ask the child and expect an intelligent response until they are old enough ... and the definition of "old enough" is itself subject to lots of debate.
In the case of AIS, it would seem best to do nothing rather than force the child onto some male hormone regimen. But in other cases it might be best to push the child medically to look outwardly corresponding to the inner reality rather than just to force the child in the direction closest to the way they appear by way of their genitalia, i.e. have the dog wag the tail rather than vice-versa.
When the child comes of age, he/she is owed a complete explanation by his/her parents, and in turn he/she should be expected to explain his/her situation to any prospective suitors. Unless the suitors have made it clear they don't care what sex he/she is.
The AIS condition seems like it may be amenable to a medical "cure" at some point in the future. In the mean time it seems crazy that most religious texts place a greater premium on sexual identity than the Creator who would allow all of these exceptions to come about.
Either these cases are a result of sin (e.g. drugs, booze, smoking during pregnancy leading to birth defects) and the children are its victims, or else some re-interpretations are in order.
"I think the problem is that biological reality doesn't provide the bright, easy line we wish it would."
That is a really succinct summary of the issue. Biology is a lot more complex than commonly thought.