Legal Articles on the Littleton Case
and Related Articles on
Gender Determination and Human Rights

Legality of Marriage and 
Required Gender Identification
Under Texas Family Code

1. Does Christie's identification meet the legal requirements to enter into a marriage in the state of Texas?

YES -- Her Texas-issued ID card is deemed adequate substantiation by the Texas Family Code, including her gender. Only one identification is required which makes any other identification immaterial.

2. Was Christie's Texas ID fraudulently obtained?

NO -- It was issued by the state with full knowledge of the amendment of gender, and we know the state also materially participated in the process of gender amendment.

3. Is Christie therefore identified as a "female" for the purposes of marriage, qualifying for that status in the Texas Family Code?

YES -- With no other qualifications specified.

4. Can the state of Texas subsequently invalidate such a marriage?

NO -- It is specifically prohibited by Sec. 1.101 of the Texas Family Code

5. Can the state of Texas invalidate a marriage executed in another state when that marriage meets all legal requirements of marriages in Texas?

NO -- Sec. 1.103 of the Texas Family Code validates her Kentucky marriage in Texas, which infers that Texas Family Code applies to the marriage as long as the parties to the marriage (or surviving spouse) are domiciled in Texas.

6. Who can dissolve a marriage conducted legally under the qualifications and specifications of Texas Family Code?

ONLY THE PARTIES TO THE MARRIAGE (excepting specifications of Chapter 6)

7. Does Christie's marriage fall into any of the exceptions contained in Chapter 6 of the Code?

NO -- In fact, given the death of her spouse, Sec. 6.111 prohibits any challenge to the marriage.

8. Is Christie's marriage completely valid under current Texas Family Code and does Christie have full rights as surviving spouse?

YES --- There are no further stipulations of the Code to warrant any other conclusion.

Point of Error

Was the issue before the court the task of identifying one's gender for a medical and scientific purpose OR was it simply identifying one's gender under Texas Family Code FOR THE PURPOSES OF MARRIAGE?

We find the issue is solely to determine gender for the purposes of marriage which may differ and be arguable in purely medical and scientific esoterics. It was, however, not the issue before the court to range into the medical and scientific esoterics of gender.  Debate on the specifications of the Texas Health and Safety Code stipulations are immaterial since the state of Texas had already validated her legal gender years before with the issuance of a Texas identification card specifying legal female gender. The validity of the Texas identification card as the instrument used to apply for marriage as a female strictly for the purposes of marriage was never called into question by the trial or appellate courts. The point in question for the trial and appellate courts was gender identification presented legally sufficient under the specifications of the Texas Family Code to uphold the marriage.

Simply stated, the Texas Family Code requires marriage between and "man" and a "woman," and the Code requires either a valid and legal identification or a birth certificate indicating gender. One valid identification being all that is necessary, any other instrument is therefore immaterial to the issuance of a marriage license. Christie Lee Littleton presented a valid Texas identification indicating legal gender status as "female," and her spouse presented valid identification indicating legal gender status as "male." For the purposes of marriage under Texas Family Code, this meets the test of legal sufficiency for gender identification.

Until such time as Texas Family Code is amended to require some other identification or determination, such as that attempted by the 4th Court of Appeals, the marriage of Christie Lee Littleton and Jonathon Mark Littleton withstands all tests of the requirements of the current Code.

The Texas Family Code further stipulates that once a legal marriage is entered, the state is not empowered to dissolve the marriage unilaterally, except as specified under Chapter 6, and that no party other than the parties to the marriage may challenge the marriage. The marriage is further protected from dissolution upon the death of one of the parties to the marriage under 6.111. Both the trial court and appellate court erred by allowing a third party to challenge the marriage with an immaterial instrument in evidence, and further ignored the strict stipulations of Sections 1.101 and 6.111 concerning validity of marriage and allowable challenge under the Texas Family Code.

Corollary Points

1. Does a court have the discretionary power to apply a higher level of scrutiny than that required under current law? (The higher level of scrutiny being gender determination for purposes of marriage exceeding that specified under the Texas Family Code.)

2. Can the court selectively apply a higher level of scrutiny than that required of other persons under current law? (There being no other specifications under the Code for gender determination, no other individual is required to present further medical evidence of gender to get married OR remain married.)

3. Can the higher level of scrutiny be applied by the court after the fact of issuance of a marriage license? (Any higher level of scrutiny should be applied before the fact -- such as in a suit against the state for denial of a marriage license in order for the court to be empowered to apply a different level of scrutiny and to delve into public policy.)

4. Can the court determine a compelling state interest after the fact in this case which enables the court to expand the face of the present law beyond that clearly written and then apply that expansion of law after the fact? (Such a compelling state interest to nullify the marriage was never substantiated by the 4th Court concerning insufficiency of Texas Family Code requirements and public policy for gender identification for the purposes of marriage.)


Attorneys involved in this case have previously raised questions of estoppel. In a possible application to the discussion above, Christie relied upon the prior act of the state of Texas in issuance of her Texas identification which under Texas Family Code qualified her to enter into her marriage. Based on this prior act of the state, she is entitled to reasonable assurance that her marriage would be honored in full by the state. Should the state then invalidate her marriage she would suffer material loss as beneficiary to her husband's estate and any other rights and privileges conferred by the state by virtue of marriage. Therefore, is the state of Texas estopped from the act of invalidating her marriage by the prior act of qualifying her to enter the marriage? Without specifically stating it, 6.111 of the Texas Family Code seems to at least support the principle of estoppel within it. Once a party to a marriage is deceased, under no circumstances may the marriage be challenged -- it supports the preservation of the estate for the surviving spouse.

Tere Prasse, Paralegal

Texas Family Code: 

Texas Health and Safety Code: 

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Last revised: Saturday, May 06, 2000 09:35 AM

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