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.
There is no "debate" in this story. They are not the same sex. Only if you accept that having an operation to change your physical appearance is their a debate.
Gee, no bias here is there. We are supposed to accept the premise. I don't think so.
I guess society never had to even think about the definition of sex until medical technology made it possible to force the issue.
Can someone please tell me why they insist on referring to this man as "she"?
And why on EARTH are they praying?? What on EARTH do they hope to accomplish by that? Is that supposed to convince me that they love God or something?
I don't see how a lesbian couple could get married under the language I proposed, especially in the case where one got sex reassignment.
Of course the language I proposed was thrown together in a minute as I was typing and would need more rework, but basically anyone who ever had their sex reassigned would become ineligible for marriage (or instantly nullify any pre-existing marriage.)
Thus a freely made decision would make impossible certain future decisions, which is often the case in the course of human events, e.g. I don't work for a private company during my career so I don't get Social Security.
The only case brought up by punster that would seem to create a quandary is AIS where the person from all outward appearances appears to be a woman but is genetically a male, and where it seems in most cases the person identifies as a woman.
If the definition of male and female is genetic then this person would have to identify as a male and marry a woman and create a situation which would look very much like a lesbian marriage. I don't know the answer to this. Off the top of my head, any person with AIS would be required to go through what would appear to be a sex reassignment regimen to look more like the male that he/she is before being allowed to be married. But this seems rather draconian and fascistic on the face of it.
I think your story is touching.
And, in this case, I don't see anything wrong with referring to her as "her". She made a mistake, that she was unable to reverse. I think referring to her as "he" would only make her pain worse. Now, I would not necessarily feel this way if she decided to get married and adopt a kid or whatever. But since she has made the adult decision to live with what she did, and not date or get married, then she definitely doesn't need any more pain of being constantly reminded of that.
Oh, and, just so you know...sounds to me like we worship the same God. ;)
These two critters are blowing smoke. They're just trying to get some publicity.
The "It" portion of the duo was a MAN when they were married. The inevitable phalanx of lawyers will argue that under contract law, that makes the contract binding. A ruling that the contract still stands, even though the former "Man" is now an "It", would set *no* legal precedent w/r/t two people who were both male or both female BEFORE a marriage,
That's all fine and dandy until in three years thet both want to become men...L.O.L....Hetro to lesbo to homo...makin the round trip I guess...Life is just to short......
This is what happened in Belgium a couple of years back.
Unless we decide to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, then it would seem to me that being able to properly define males and females is something that should happen at the national level.
Phyllis Schlafly predicted that the ERA would lead to gay marriages because if a man and woman have the exact same legal status before the law, then a man marrying a woman is legally equivalent to a man marrying a man.
People who say that all this should be left up to the states mystify me. Roe v. Wade has made it difficult to constitutionally define what a human being is, so I guess I shouldn't be that surprised that even fellow conservatives don't seem to care about crossing the T's and dotting the I's when it comes to defining what men and women are!
That's your signal that the rest of your post/flame/rant is a joke, right? About the Bible and marijuana, etc...a parody of an unthinking DU-type, right? And you were trying to suck me in for fun. Anyway, whether you were kidding or not, it made me laugh, thanks. "Female whore moans"... that's good!