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Gender change does not void Indiana marriage

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Indiana law does not automatically void a marriage if one of the parties later is legally recognized as the same gender as the spouse, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

The issue arose in In Re the Marriage of Melanie Davis and Angela Summers, 53A01-1305-DR-221. Melanie Davis filed a petition to dissolve her marriage with Angela Summers in 2012. The two were married in 1999 when Davis was living as David Paul Summers, and they have one child. In 2005, Davis petitioned the Marion Circuit Court to change her name and birth certificate to recognize that she is female. Davis has “gender dysphoria,” which is a disorder of people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with.

Davis’ birth certificate was changed in October 2008.  

The trial court originally approved of the provisional order for dissolution, but then sua sponte issued an order that the marriage became void when Davis’ birth certificate was changed to female based on I.C. 31-11-1-1. That statute prohibits same-sex marriage. The trial court dismissed the petition for dissolution.

“Simply said, there is nothing in the Indiana Code chapter dealing with void marriages that declares that a marriage that was valid when it was entered into becomes void when one of the parties to that marriage has since changed his or her gender,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote.

“To conclude that the parties’ marriage somehow became void when the gender was changed on Davis’s birth certificate would permit Davis to effectively abandon her own child, even though the parties were validly married at the time of the child’s birth and even though Davis is the child’s father. It would also leave the parties’ child without the protection afforded by Indiana’s dissolution statutes with regard to parenting time and child support. We do not think that our General Assembly intended such a result.”

Mathias pointed out in a footnote that the trial court ruling could terminate her parental rights, something Davis does not want.
 

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  • epistemology
    just because there are foothills does not mean there are not mountains. concepts are based on generalizations and just because they have some exceptions does not make them per se invalid. the same fallacy applied to the silly notion I sometimes hear that "there is no such thing as race" will soon be applied to sex/gender, ie, its all "socially constructed." in this way, paradoxically, exceptions are used to undermine valid generalizations (like the "male/female" duality) and then the useful social arrangements based on such generalization gets shattered. Somebody wants things to happen that way, you don't reverse a nearly universal human concept that's been around as long as civilization itself by accident or some new fangled "insight." The ancients knew about hermaphrodites as much as we do and they didn't see fit to toss male/female overboard so why should we. The name itself comes from a pagan greek godling, the progeny of hermes and Aphrodite.
  • Oops
    Oops, I meant "repent" not recent. Instead of arguing biology, James, throw yourself into post modern sociology with the Colorado College that now recognizes five genders for Title VII purposes.
  • Room 101 is indicated
    James, What you have written below is dangerously close to stating that 2+2=4 or that you do not love Big Brother. A trip to Room 101 may be in order, but first we shall find you flirting with mental illness and force you to watch this for 48 hours with your eyelids glued wide open: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/fausto-sterling.html Such rational, scientific and traditional thought is a threat to the Soros World Order that some in judiciary are dedicated to building in our midst. Recent or be found lacking character and fitness to be an officer of the court.
    • NOT ANSWERED OR ADDRESSED BY COURTS: IF DAVIS STILL HAS X & Y CHROMOSOMES, IS DAVIS IN REALITY STILL A MALE OR SOMEHOW NOW A FEMALE BECAUSE OF APPEARANCE?
      Trial Court and Court of Appeals did not address what may be the fundamental issue of this case (and may make the whole business moot)-- does one undergoing cosmetic surgery and hormone therapy but still retaining an X and Y chromosome (or an X and Y Y chromosomes) which does not change and which Davis to have and still does have since he/she fathered children, become a female? Likely this was not raised in the Courts and they may not wish to go there because of the troubled waters involved. These are genital ambiguity or so-called inter-sex condition at birth but with X and Y chromosomes. These babies are usually raised as girls and may have surgery and hormones. Courts may find it easier to avoid this whole area.

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      1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

      2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

      3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

      4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

      5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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