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.


  • 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: 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.
      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. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

      2. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

      3. (A)ll (C)riminals (L)ove (U)s is up to their old, "If it's honorable and pro-American, we're against it," nonsense. I'm not a big Pence fan but at least he's showing his patriotism which is something the left won't do.

      4. While if true this auto dealer should be held liable, where was the BMV in all of this? How is it that the dealer was able to get "clean" titles to these vehicles in order to sell them to unsuspecting consumers?

      5. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless [ ] Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. GOD BLESS THE GOVERNORS RESISTING! Count on the gutless judiciary to tie our children down and facilitate the swords being drawn across their throats. Wake Up America ...