March 30, 2007

Sex-Change Doesn't Free Others from Their Obligations...

I saw this article on CNN and figured I'd share it with the Quench-world. I would have done it earlier, but Blogger has decided that everyone needs to switch to Google accounts, but my old account is not yet eligible (since they're doing it in waves). Long story short: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Or, as I would usually say: Moo.

Judge: Ex still due alimony when she becomes he
POSTED: 8:20 p.m. EDT, March 28, 2007

CLEARWATER, Florida (AP) -- A woman's sex change operation does not free her ex-husband from his alimony obligation, a judge said Wednesday.

Attorneys for Lawrence Roach, 48, had argued his 55-year-old ex-wife's decision to switch genders and change her name from Julia to Julio Roberto Silverwolf voided their 2004 divorce agreement.

"It's illegal for a man to marry a man and it should likewise be illegal for a man to pay alimony to a man," said John McGuire, one of Roach's attorneys.

Circuit Judge Jack R. St. Arnold, however, ruled that in the eyes of the law, nothing changed significantly enough to free Roach from his $1,250-a-month obligation.

The judge said since Florida courts have ruled sex-change surgery cannot legally change a person's birth gender, Roach technically is not paying alimony to a man.

Gender definitions are "a question that raises issues of public policy that should be addressed by the Legislature, not the Florida courts," St. Arnold wrote.

Silverwolf's lawyer, Gregory Nevins, said the language of the divorce decree is clear -- Roach agreed to pay alimony until his ex-wife dies or remarries.

Nevins said he and his client were pleased with the ruling, although they disagree with Florida's refusal to legally recognize gender reassignment surgery.

Roach, a utility worker who has since remarried, said he will press his fight to end the payments.

"We're going to try everything we can," he said. "I can't rest until I get satisfaction."

The case is the second transsexual rights showdown in Pinellas County in less than a week. On Friday, city commissioners voted 5-2 to fire Largo's city manager, Steve Stanton, after he announced he was a transsexual.

An Ohio appeals court ruled in September 2004 that a Montgomery County man must continue to pay alimony to his transsexual ex-wife because her sex change wasn't reason enough to violate the agreement.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.


Anonymous said...

help this brave lesbian!

maudite entendante said...

And yet ... and yet.

Clearly, it's a setback for the court to rule that nothing can actually change your gender in the eyes of the law. (I think it's also possibly inaccurate, although I can't find the state-by-state breakdown of birth-certificate-change regulations. I know that Tennessee is the only state that prohibits them outright, though, so I'm pretty sure the judge is on shaky legal ground here.)

That said, it's a positive step that Mr. Silverwolf was granted alimony; his transition clearly has nothing to do with the facts of the case or the grounds for granting alimnoy in the first place: namely, that he was married to Mr. Roach, that during that time Mr. Roach was the sole wage-earner (because he didn't want wifey to work out of the house), and that they are now divorced. Period. Silverwolf neither died nor remarried, so Roach wasn't released from alimony. However, the "freak factor" could easily have gone against Silverwolf - all it would have taken was for one judge to rule that because this weird tranny wasn't the woman Roach married, Roach should be allowed to run for the hills, counting his blessings to be away from the nutjob. Y'know?

(By the way, can I just say that Larry Roach is fabulously well-named?)

Anyway, nothing I've said here hasn't been said before, and better, by the Lambda Legal attorneys who represented Julio Silverwolf, in their press release here.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there are several states that won't change your gender on a birth certificate. At least Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and Idaho.


- Wannatakethisoutside

Anonymous said...

IIRC, Tennessee actually prohibits it, whereas the other states just don't allow it. Damn, I wish my Resident Birth-Certificate Expert were here right now, rather than home for Passover.

Regardless, it looks like Mr. Poopyhead Judge does have legal grounds for pronouncing Mr. Silverwolf a woman. Rarr.

Thanks, btw, for the file; it's good to have around.

- M.E. (having problems logging in)

Anonymous said...

I, too, am having problems logging in.

Anyhow, I didn't know there was a difference where some places explicitly prohibited and others just wouldn't do it. Thanks for educating me!


Anonymous said...

Well, keep in mind, I could be wrong. ;)

But the sweetheart had to write a policy proposal for a scholarship competition, and chose to focus on identity documents in Tennessee. I understood that to be the reason. ::taps toes, waiting for sweetheart to check Quench:: *grin*

(By the way, I met a friend of yours/potential Quench recruitee this weekend, and what a fabulous person indeed. *smile*)