Texas judge voids firefighter's marriage to transgender widow

Nikki Araguz has previously said she would appeal

The Associated Press

WHARTON, Texas — A Texas judge has signed an order that voids the marriage of a transgender widow whose firefighter husband died battling a blaze.

The order prevents Nikki Araguz from receiving the death benefits of her firefighter husband, Thomas Araguz III, who died last year.

State District Judge Randy Clapp's ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by the firefighter's family. The suit claims his widow should collect nothing because she was born a man and Texas doesn't recognize same-sex marriages.

In his ruling signed last week and made public Tuesday, the Wharton County judge said the marriage was "void as a matter of law."

Clapp's decision was first made known early last week after attorneys in the case saw a draft of the decision.

The widow has previously said she would appeal.

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