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Firefighter’s transgender widow wins estate battle

Capt. Thomas Araguz died in 2010 in the line of duty and his wife has been fighting to claim his death benefits ever since

WHARTON, Texas — A state appeals court reaffirmed its decision to validate the marriage of a transgender widow seeking the estate of her firefighter husband who died battling a blaze.

ABC13 reported that the ruling by the 13th Texas Court of Appeals sent the case of Nikki Araguz Loyd back to a county judge who originally voided the marriage because Texas didn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

“It’s the most beautiful twist of karma. The judge so viciously ruled against me now has to reverse his own ruling,” said Araguz Loyd. “It’s never been about money. It was not about money when I married my husband. It certainly was not about money when I buried him.”

According to a 2014 appeals court opinion, Araguz Loyd’s marriage was valid due to a change in the Family Law code that states a person who has had a sex change is eligible to marry a person of the opposite sex.

Araguz Loyd had sex change months after she married Capt. Thomas Araguz and he knew she was transgender at the time they married. She now stands to collect more than $500,000 in death benefits.

“It’s bittersweet finally having the victory now. When I don’t necessarily need it. But it allows me to do amazing things with it,” said Araguz Loyd. “I’m just going to go on about my life helping other people do the same, but really taking a step out of the political movement and really focusing more on spiritual aspects.”