Proposed same-sex marriage may set precedent in Texas

By Sarah Snyder
Daily Texan
U. Texas-Austin

(U-WIRE) AUSTIN, Texas -- A same-sex marriage in Bexar County may be the first of its kind in Texas if domestic partners Jessica Wicks, a male-to-female transsexual, and Robin Manhart Wicks show up to receive their marriage license.

The Texas Fourth Court of Appeals decided in October that because Wicks was born a male the marriage would be legal.

Wicks and Manhart met in 1997 and the couple has been together for over a year. Manhart changed her name to Wicks this year and they are currently living together in Houston.

Eliseo Mull, recordings manager of the Bexar County Courthouse, said the couple has not yet appeared to receive their license.

"If they present an identification stating one is a male and one is a female, at that point we must issue a marriage license," Mull said.

Either a state-issued identification card or a certified copy of a birth certificate may be used to prove Wicks was born a male, Mull added.

"This could very well set a precedent (with same-sex marriage)," Mull said. "Of course, they must provide the proper identification."

Diane Hardy-Garcia, director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby in Austin, agreed that the marriage between the Wicks will have a lasting impact on how society views gender issues and roles.

"There are way larger ramifications with this case than just with gay, lesbian or transsexual people," Garcia said. "There are going to be a lot of gender issues in the next decade as people challenge gender issues."

For example, Hardy-Garcia said some men want to spend time at home with their children while many women continue to rapidly enter the workplace.

"Men will want paternity leave just like women have maternity leave," Garcia said. "They will want to be treated equally."

University of Texas graduate Cary Ard said he finds the engagement between the Wicks "odd" and conflicting with his personal beliefs.

"It's a totally not normal situation," Ard said. "I think it is crazy what they are doing. To me it is sad what people do to find satisfaction in their lives."

But Monika Browne, a government junior, said the Wicks were lucky to have a loophole that most same-sex couples do not have.

"It's probably better for them, to have that loophole," Browne said. "It opens the door for broader changes in society."

(C) 2000 Daily Texan via U-WIRE

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