Transgendered individuals and their families face legal risks that most families do not, at least in part, because state laws are often unclear about whether or under what conditions transgendered individuals are permitted to marry the individuals whom they love. Challenges to the validity of marriages involving the transgendered may arise under a variety of circumstances, ranging from cases in which individuals may have hidden or may not even have known that they were transgendered until after their marriages, to cases in which the individuals had already transitioned and had explained their personal histories to their partners before they were married. Where such marriages are contested, a number of issues may have to be resolved including the validity of the marriage, parental status, and who should have custody of or visitation with any of the children raised by the parties. This Article focuses on the spousal and parent-child relationships of transgendered individuals. Regrettably, much of the law is still unclear. While most states specifyr the conditions under which a transgendered individual can have his or her birth certificate modified to reflect his or her self-identified sex, states have been much less clear about how local marriage laws apply to transgendered individuals. In many states, there is no express policy with respect to whether a transgendered person will only be permitted to marry someone of the opposite sex of his or her self-identified sex or, instead, someone of the opposite sex of his or her birth sex. Current law in most states is intolerable, either because it fails to take into account the actual lives of the transgendered, or because it is simply indeterminate.
Defining Sex: On Marriage, Family, and Good Public Policy,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol17/iss1/4