In 1999, Texas declared couples can only get married if one partner is male and one is female. In 2004 the state banned gay marriage. And then in 2009 the state insisted a post-operative transsexual’s newly assigned gender overrides the gender stated on their birth certificate. So how’d the state handle a male-to-female transgender woman who wanted to marry her longtime girlfriend? They let them wed, but no one’s sure if they should have.
Virgil Eugene Hill Jr. was born with both male and female organs, yet the birth certificate listed Hill as a male. Hill, after discovering she had ovaries, had a sex-change operation and legally became Sabrina Jeanne Hill in 1991. Then in 1993, Hill met her current girlfriend Therese Bur and the two have lived together ever since. In February, Hill decided to marry Bur so that Bur would receive Hill’s spousal military benefits. El Paso denied the union and County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal wrote State Attorney General Greg Abbott to ask WTF she was supposed to do—pay attention to the birth certificate or to the driver’s license.
Instead of waiting for an answer, Bur and Hill hightailed it to San Antonio and got hitched there. Bexar County Clerk Gerard C. “Gerry” Rickhoff granted the marriage license based on Hill’s birth certificate. He said, “As I recall, he (the judge) said you are what you are at your birth. I don’t care what they appear to me or what manner of dress. We are familiar with them, and they are well received when they come to our office.”
A video interview with the couple says that they’re not looking to change same-sex marriage laws in Texas, but the case will definitely force the state to have to re-examine its contradictory and outdated transgender laws.