ILNews

Gender change does not void Indiana marriage

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • 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.

      Post a comment to this story

      COMMENTS POLICY
      We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
       
      You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
       
      Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
       
      No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
       
      We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
       

      Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

      Sponsored by

      facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

      Indiana State Bar Association

      Indianapolis Bar Association

      Evansville Bar Association

      Allen County Bar Association

      Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

      facebook
      ADVERTISEMENT
      Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
      1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

      2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

      3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

      4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

      5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

      ADVERTISEMENT