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Dallas Attorney Eric Gormly Wins Transgender Rights Decision
Motion for Summary Judgment to Declare Marriage Void Denied in Dallas District Court
November 22, 2011 – Dallas, Texas – Dallas-based Attorney Eric Gormly, Managing Partner of The Gormly Law Firm, PLLC, has won a significant victory for the rights of transgendered individuals in the State of Texas.
James Allan Scott, respondent, is a transgendered man and is represented by The Gormly Law Firm. His wife of nearly 13 years, Rebecca Robertson, originally filed to declare the marriage void on September 9, 2010. On February 22, 2011, Scott filed a counter-petition for divorce. After which, Ms. Robertson withdrew her petition, leaving only a divorce action. Then on May 13, 2011, she again pursued her attempt to nullify the marriage by filing a second-amended petition to declare the marriage void. On June 27, 2011, under instructions from the court, she filed a Motion for Summary Judgment.
Robertson, represented by attorney Tom Nicol, argued that since Scott was originally born a woman, the marriage between his client and Scott was actually a same-sex marriage and should be considered invalid per Texas state law.
Nicol relied heavily on the 1999 decision from the San Antonio Court of Appeals, Littleton v. Prange, to support their position. Littleton held that the marriage between a transsexual woman and a man was void because it was a same-sex marriage.
Gormly, representing Scott, responded that the Littleton decision and others like it are unconstitutional, are contradicted by overwhelming scientific evidence, and effectively have been overturned by Texas statutes. Gormly argued that, based on all of the evidence of Scott’s full transition, he should be considered a man for the purposes of entering a marriage, and that a fully transitioned transgendered woman should be considered a woman for the same purposes under Texas law.
Scott had completed all of the required protocol as prescribed by the World Professional Association for Transgendered Health (WPATH) standards of care, and secured all new identification documents – including birth certificate and passport – to reflect his change in identity from female to male. This all occurred prior to his marriage to Ms. Robertson.
Mr. Scott also argued that his wife supported and was fully aware of his transition from female to male. Throughout their shared life together, Ms. Robertson acknowledged in earlier testimony that she had viewed their relationship as a valid marriage. Scott and Robertson were married December 20, 1998 in Dallas.
Judge Lori Chrisman Hockett of the 255th Family District Court denied the Motion for Summary Judgment on November 21, 2011.
Robertson v. Scott is now a bona fide divorce action. Had the marriage been considered void, Scott would not qualify for just and right division of community property under Texas law. In addition, the ruling affirms that Scott is legally considered a man under the protections of the law.
This ruling appears to be the first of its kind in Texas.
About The Gormly Law Firm
The Gormly Law Firm (www.TheGormlyLawFirm.com), helmed by Eric Gormly, J.D., Ph.D., is dedicated to its clients, offering innovative, insightful strategies to today’s legal challenges. The Gormly Law Firm is a boutique litigation firm specializing in LGBT Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, Media and Entertainment.