In Texas, the Texas Tribune wrote,
Anatomy of a ControversyIt is time that we stop labeling a person gender for them and instead to allow them to define their own gender and to be able to marry the person that they love.
by Brandi Grissom
May 14, 2010
The two women are hardly the typical Texas married couple, yet their union has been blessed by the courts. That's because Hill is a transgender female: She was born with both male and female genitalia, and her father ordered surgery to make her a male. Three decades later, she would surgically reverse his decision. Today, Hill's driver’s license and a judge’s order say she’s a woman — but her birth certificate and now her marriage license say she’s a man. The county clerk in San Antonio gave Hill and Bur a license to wed, putting the couple at the center of a decade-long fight over whether unions like theirs are legal in a state that has overwhelmingly opposed same-sex marriage in polls and at the ballot box.
In a complex and ironic twist of Texas politics, a 1999 conservative court ruling actually sanctions unions like Hill and Bur’s — though they are, by their own definition, a gay married couple. That's because the ruling, which sought to establish gender as unchangeable, established a person's birth certificate as the legal document that defines his or her gender, regardless of later sex-change operations. And so it had the odd side effect of allowing transgender homosexuals to legally marry. It’s a conundrum that dismays social conservatives, confounds some county clerks and has advocates for gay and transgender rights calling for clarification. In perhaps their sole point of consensus on social issues, some conservatives and gay and transgender advocates agree, for different reasons, that people like Hill shouldn’t be allowed to identify as one gender in daily life but another when getting married.
“It’s all screwy, and the reason why it’s screwy is because people are worried about same-sex marriage,” says Houston lawyer Phyllis Randolph Frye, a transgender woman who represented the plaintiffs in the 1999 case.
State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, the author of the 2005 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in Texas, believes, as many Texans do, that sinful men and woman choose homosexuality and God chooses gender. So the case of Hill and Bur presents something of a Hobson’s choice. Prohibiting both gay marriage and legal recognition of sex changes means accepting something potentially even less acceptable: the gay marriage of transsexuals.