Legal Articles on the Littleton Case
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Gender Determination and Human Rights

Karen Kerin

Somehow the government stole my most precious possession. I was angry and I tried to get a lawyer to help me get it back, but no lawyer would take my case. They all said I could not win. They said I was crazy and should not pursue this matter. I told them it was too precious to let it be stolen. 

Then I was told that if it was so important, I could be my own lawyer. They said it was making my case pro se. That is a Latin word which means, in person, without a lawyer to talk for me. Since my case was just and the government was stealing from me, a judge would make it right. I would get back my most precious possession. I had not given it to my government. I had not sold it to my government. I had committed no crime that they should take my most precious possession. The judge would surely see this and make them give it back. I could tell him myself.

I went to the big library next to the state capital building and found the law books. There were too many of them for me to read them all. A nice librarian told me I could look up the laws, he called them statutes, by using the index books. He was right and it did not take me long to find all of the statutes that I needed. There was no statute that said they could take my most precious possession. There were statutes that allowed me to do many things with my most precious possession. I could give it another name. I could use it to prove many things. But the statutes did not say that my most precious possession belonged to the government. The law said it was mine and it even had my name on it. It had my parents names on it too. I knew I was right. I knew that the judge would see that the government was stealing something that was not theirs. It was mine and the government had to give it back.

I found the forms for what I had to do to file my case. But I was still a little unsure of myself and so I asked some people if they had a problem of the government stealing their most precious possession. Everyone said they did not have a problem. The government was not stealing their most precious possession. A lot of people said it was funny that my most precious possession didn't belong to me because theirs were not stolen. Some agreed with me that I should make the government give it back. Most said that I was foolish for trying to get it back. But I said, "This is America and my government can not take my most precious possession against my will".

I went home and started making my complaint. That is what they call the paper that starts a law case. I said that very few people had their most precious possession stolen by the government and I wanted mine back. I said I never gave it to them and never sold it to them and they had no right to take it. I said just because I wanted to make a change that the government had never thought of, was no reason for them to take my most precious possession. I took the paper down to the courthouse and they said that I needed to make another paper to go with it. I needed to have a service of process paper and then the clerk would take my papers and put a stamp on them. Then the clerk would give me back two copies so that I could take one to the sheriff for him to deliver to the government. I thought that was all very silly since the court was the government. It seemed like a scam to make money for the sheriff because I had to pay him to take my paper to the government. That griped me pretty bad when I found out that lawyers didn't have to pay the sheriff because they could just deliver the paper to the government themselves. So I added on some stuff to my first paper, the complaint thing. I said I wanted to be a lawyer for people who like me couldn't get a lawyer. I had met some people who didn't have the money to pay the sheriff and couldn't get a lawyer either. Then I took my papers to the court clerk and she stamped them. I took the papers to the sheriff and paid him to deliver the papers.

It really was not so hard. The sheriff mailed me the second paper back with a signature and date on it saying the government had received my paper. I waited for two weeks and when nothing happened, I started to get mad. I went back to the nice librarian to ask if there was something I could do. He said to look in the rules of civil procedure where I had found the forms that I used to make the papers. Again the librarian was right. The rules said that the government had to give me an answer within 21 days. After 25 days, I still had not gotten anything, so I went back to the rule book and found out that I could file another paper demanding that the court say the government had not followed the rules and therefore didn't win and would have to give me back my most precious possession. I took it down to the courthouse and the clerk stamped it and told me to mail it to the government. I did.

Then I got a paper from the judge saying that he was giving the government more time to write to me. I thought that was unfair since they had broken the rules. I thought the judge probably didn't like me and he worked for the government, so probably was just covering up for them. But a couple of days after that, the government sent me a paper saying they denied doing anything wrong. So, I went back to the librarian and told him what had happened. He said now I had to write a brief in support of my complaint. I thought that was really stupid because it was just as plain as day that they had stolen my most precious possession and they should not do that. But the librarian had been right so far, so I started reading more law books and they kept talking about other law cases. I looked up the other law cases and most of them were not at all like my case. Somebody was making this much more confusing than it should be. All those silly cases were different. Then I noticed that in the cases there was references to the Constitution, so I read that and it said that if I hadn't given my most precious possession to the government, then it was mine. And they had a bunch of stuff about a penumbra, which I found out was just a funny word meaning that the government could add an implied power onto another implied power. That did not seem to agree with the Constitution, so I asked the librarian about that. He said that I needed to check the state Constitution. I didn't even know we had one, but found it in the law books. It was a really crappy thing to read because unlike the Constitution it was full of things that "ought" to be. I wrote my brief and gave all my reasons why they should give me back my most precious possession and let me be a lawyer so I could help other people the government was doing wrong.

Then I took that to the court and again sent a copy to the government and again sat and waited for something to happen. This time after a week, I checked to see if the state had to send me a paper and sure enough, they had 30 days to send me a paper. Well, they didn't, so after about 35 days, I again made a paper demanding that the judge say they lost, and I would get back my most precious possession. Again, the judge sent me a letter saying he was giving the state more time. Bummer. I just knew if I was late, the judge would say I lost. Then I got a paper from the court saying that we would have a "hearing on the merits". I figured that was so the government could make their excuses for taking my most precious possession, and I was ready to argue them right into the ground. I felt like Daniel Webster arguing with the devil.

Boy was I wrong. The judge told me to tell my story and I did. I talked for an hour or more. Then he asked the government lawyer if he had anything to say and he said he didn't. We walked out of the courthouse together and the lawyer for the government said he thought I probably won my case. He was wrong. The judge must not have been listening because he wrote an eight page paper talking about lots of other cases and saying I lost. I read it a lot of times and decided he was full of prunes and must have been new on the job. I went back to the librarian again and found out that I could appeal the case. So I did all of that and again got nothing for all my efforts. So now the government owns my most precious possession and I got even. 

They didn't want to make my identity congruent with my actual physical identity. They had taken my money to change my name, but wouldn't change my sex on my birth certificate because the legislature had never contemplated such a circumstance. Right, they didn't think of it, so I lost my most precious possession, my identity. Well, I got even. I married someone of the same sex as my new sex and they had to let me do it because my birth certificate was wrong. The government gave me lemons and I made lemonade, then fed them the rind. I'm happy, they are not because then the homosexual people took them to court and the court said they had to let them get married or give them an equal option.

The legislature has done that now and they call it "civil union". I think it is an evil thing because it violates the repudiation of the legal doctrine of separate but equal. It is even more evil because it requires the public disclosure of a private fact if the homosexual folks are to use the new law. With all the publicity that the new law is getting, the names and addresses of homosexual people using the new law will be put on the internet where people who do not like them can find out and do them harm. I wonder if the body count gets high enough if the government will do it right the next time.

What seems even worse to me is Christie Littleton got her birth certificate changed by Texas, but then they voided her marriage of seven years so that a doctor would not have to pay her for not treating her husband right and letting him die. I kind of wonder now if maybe I was lucky that the government stole my most precious possession because now I have nothing they can steal. It does bother me a little that my spouse and I are called lesbians, but I have a lot of friends that are called lesbians so I am in good company.

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Last revised: Saturday, May 06, 2000 09:36 AM

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