State News

Sep 17, 2013 7:48 PM

Gay Marriage Takes Center Stage Tomorrow at County Courthouse

CORPUS CHRISTI - The legal battle over gay marriage takes center stage in Corpus Christi tomorrow. It's a bizarre case from Wharton County involving a transgender woman who was married to firefighter until the marriage was ruled illegal after his death.

"When my husband died. Suddenly they said, 'well, wait a minute your marriage doesn't count.' And I find that difficult to swallow," says Nikki.

Nikki Araguz is no stranger to the courtroom hoping to overturn the controversial 2011 ruling in a bid to inherit his estate.

Nikki married Thomas Araguz in 2008. She was born as Justin Graham Purdue but underwent a sex change before she met Thomas.

Two years into their marriage he died while working as a firefighter. A judge ruled her marriage was invalid due to her being born as a man, that decision made her ineligible to inherit his estate.

An appeals court inside the Nueces County Courthouse will hear arguments starting tomorrow on whether the marriage is valid.

If a judge rules the marriage is valid, she could be entitled to an estate worth more than $600,000. If not, Thomas' first wife could inherit his estate.

Nikki and her fiancee, William, are taking part in a rally this evening.

We spoke with the attorneys representing Thomas' estate, and they say regardless of the appeals ruling, they will continue to protect his estate even if that means, going to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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