Transsexual, Texas Woman Are to Wed

Associated Press
Wednesday, September 6, 2000; Page A02

SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 6 A woman and a transsexual who was born a man obtained a marriage license, taking advantage of a court ruling that defines gender only by chromosomes.

Jessica Wicks and Robin Manhart Wicks, who took Jessica's surname this year, were allowed to pay $36 to get their license, even though they consider themselves a same-sex couple. Had Jessica Wicks been born a woman, their marriage, set for Sept. 16, would be illegal under state law.

However, because of a state appeals court ruling that said chromosomes, not genitals, determine gender, the two will be able to wed.

Phyllis Randolph Frye, an attorney for the Wicks, said the couple has advanced the rights of gays and transsexuals across the country.

"We feel that this could open an equal protection argument from a legal standpoint because lesbian and gay couples can argue, 'Well, if this lesbian and gay couple can get married, why can't we get married?' "

The appeals court ruling upheld a lower court's decision that threw out a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Christie Lee Cavazos Littleton after the death of her husband. The court said that although Littleton had undergone a sex-change operation, she was actually a man and therefore her marriage was invalid.

Frye would not disclose whether Jessica Wicks has actually had a sex-change operation or if she simply is taking hormones.

2000 The Washington Post Company

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