Littleton v. Prange
Press Release 4/12/00 on case


PRESS RELEASE
04/12/00
 
Releaser:   Tere Prasse
                  San Antonio Equal Rights Political Caucus
                  2931 Burnt Oak
                  San Antonio, TX 78232
                  210-545-2192 evenings; 210-737-2813 days
                  tere@amcinet.com
 
Approved:  Phyllis Randolph Frye
                  Attorney for Petitioner, Christie Lee Littleton
                  State Bar No: 07496600
                  5707 Firenza Street
                  Houston, Texas 77035-5515
                  713-723-8368
                  PRFrye@aol.com
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Conference:

    Tuesday, April 18, 2000, 1:30 p.m.
    Bexar County Courthouse, North Entrance
    100 Dolarosa, San Antonio, Texas
     Conferees: Phyllis Randolph Frye, Attorney; Mrs. Christie Lee Littleton, Petitioner
    Attendance by print and visual media are welcome; interview opportunities

Text:

Texas Marriages in Danger

Do all married persons in Texas know what their chromosomes are?  If not, they had better find out or they may join Christie Lee Littleton with a sudden court-invalidated marriage.  Strange as it may seem, the Texas 4th Court of Appeals ruled in late 1999 that only marriages where one partner has XX and the other XY chromosomes may get (or stay) married.  In other words, it's not genital configuration that matters, it's chromosomes, and chromosomes only.

Estimates of the number of people in Texas who could be affected by this ruling run as high as almost 900,000.  For instance, very few people have ever heard about AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome).  Women born with AIS have XY chromosomes, but in all other ways, have female physical characteristics, and are reared as women.  Most do not even know it for their entire lives--thousands of these women live in Texas, and many are most certainly married.

Additionally, there are a number of people who do not have either XX or XY chromosome patterns; they have one of the other 10 or so patterns known to geneticists.  The case of Polish sprinter Eva Klobukowska comes to mind.  In 1967, when the International Olympic Committee was still doing chromosome tests, Eva was discovered to have an XXY pattern and disqualified from participating in any IOC sanctioned events.  She was disgraced and publicly humiliated at being declared "not a woman."  Ironically, she later gave birth to a child--so much for the "not a woman" determination.  The IOC has since abandoned chromosome testing as inaccurate and non-conclusive.

There are also those cases of people who are intersexed at birth, and assigned a gender with appropriate medical intervention to align genitalia with the assigned gender. Generally, the medical guidelines today for male gender determination require a penis length at birth of at least one inch.  Even gender assignment at birth may be wrong.  A family in South America is known to have an unusual genetic trait where male genitalia do not appear until puberty--what normally takes place in the womb occurs a few years later than expected.

If that's not enough, there are people born with brain structures of one gender and bodily structures of the other.  This has nothing to do with affectional sexual orientation, but it can affect one's gender identity for obvious reasons. Many of these people seek medical treatment to align the physical with the brain, since it would be a bit more difficult to align the brain with the body--neuroscience not yet having the skills to do so.

Despite the overwhelming medical facts, the justices of the Texas 4th Court of appeals decided they knew better than medical science, and tossed it all out leaving Texans with the XX and XY marriages or nothing. Somewhat bizarre in that now in Texas, an XX woman with a vagina can marry an AIS XY woman who also has a vagina. Genitalia it seems is not a qualifier anymore for legal marriages.

Imagine the surprise when a surviving spouse seeks the inheritance of a life partner who died intestate, and the probate court requires a chromosome test to determine if the surviving spouse is eligible to be a beneficiary of the estate.  With no other surviving next of kin, the state inherits the estate if the spouse's chromosomes do not meet the 4th Court's qualifications for legal marriage.

Aside from the fact that it is a constitutionally prohibited practice to invade personal privacy to require a chromosome test, the 4th Court's ruling casts morality and justice to the winds.

Such is the case of Christie Lee Littleton of San Antonio, Texas.  After her husband of 7-years died, she filed a "wrongful death" suit against her husband's treating physician. The defendant's legal team discovered that Mrs. Littleton's original birth certificate listed a male gender marker, although the state of Texas had subsequently materially participated in medical and legal revision of her originally assigned gender marker, which is allowed under the Texas Health and Safety Code.

This fact was accepted when the state of Kentucky issued a marriage license to Christie Lee, a vaginaed female, and her husband, a penised male.  Texas and the federal government accepted their marriage as valid when the couple moved back to Texas.  Only years later did the state of Texas suddenly decide to invalidate the marriage through a nonsensical court ruling. Typically, by law, only the parties to a marriage may challenge the marriage--certainly not a third party such as an insurance company.

On April 18, 2000, Mrs. Littleton's new legal team will file a motion for rehearing by the Texas Supreme Court.  A previous filing for review with the Texas Supreme Court was denied in March.  Should the Texas Supreme Court deny the hearing again, a writ of certiorari is being prepared to file with the United States Supreme Court.

=============

References:

San Antonio Express-News article, April 9, 2000
"Lawyer ponders effects of transsexual's case"
Adolfo Pesquera

The numbers and percentages above were based on a US Census estimate of Texas population dated July 1999 and studies cited in:

  1. Julie A. Greenberg, Defining Male and Female: Intersexuality and the Collision Between Law and Biology, 41 Ariz. L.C. 265, 1999, phone 619-297-9700
  2. Randy Ettner, Gender Loving Care: A Guide to Counseling Gender-Variant Clients, W.W. Norton & Co, New York, 1999, ISBN 0-393-70304-5, rettner@aol.com

For additional information about the Constitutional implications, contact Professor Neil McCabe at South Texas College of Law, 713-646-1842.

For information concerning the intersexed, contact Cheryl Chase of the Intersex Society of North America at info@isna.org.

For information concerning the political activism of transgendered Texans, contact Sarah DePalma of the Texas Gender Advocacy and Information Network at rhost@flash.net.

If the Texas Supreme Court does not grant these motions, then a writ of certiorari will be filed with the US Supreme Court. For information on that issue, contact:

Alyson Meiselman
Maryland Bar No: 213589249
Attorney for Petitioner
14400 Lake Winds Way
North Potomac, Maryland 20878
301-424-9314

Other case reference and information at http://christielee.net


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Last revised: Saturday, May 06, 2000 09:40 AM

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