Florida Appeals Court Rules Marriage Transsexual Marriage Invalid, Nullifies Divorce

'A person's biological sex at birth is what's to be considered when determining whether a marriage is valid.' -- Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals
( [email protected] ) Jul 26, 2004 09:19 PM EDT

The Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals upheld the state’s ban on same-sex marriage on July 23 when it ruled the marriage between a man, who was once a woman, and another woman invalid.

Michael Kantaras, formerly Margo Kantaras, married Linda after having a sex-change operation in 1987. He then divorced her a decade later and was awarded custody of two children, one borne through Linda from a prior relationship and another Linda gave birth through artificial insemination from his brother.

Judge O’Brien of a lower court ruled that Kantaras was legally male when he married Linda and declared the marriage between the two as valid. He granted them a divorce. The judge also said that “marriage is a state of mind.”

However, the appeals court ruled that gender refers to “immutable traits at birth” and cannot be changed through sex-change surgery.

"The controlling issue in this case is whether, as a matter of law, the Florida statutes governing marriage authorize a postoperative transsexual to marry in the reassigned sex," the court ruled. "We conclude they do not."

A person's biological sex at birth is what's to be considered when determining whether a marriage is valid, the court ruled.

"Therefore, we hold that the marriage in this case is void,” said the appeals court, overturning the lower court’s decision to grant the Kantaras’ a divorce saying that there was no legal marriage to warrant a legal divorce.

The court did not rule on the custody issue, sending it back to the trial court to decide.

Linda Kantaras applauded the appeals court’s ruling.

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, a legal counsel which represented Linda Kantaras in the case, said, “The law cannot permit a person to change their sex like one changes clothes.

“This case is a tremendous victory for traditional marriage and common sense, and represents a huge setback for the transsexual and homosexual agenda. A few hormones and plastic surgery do not change a person’s sex, which is an immutable trait fixed at birth,” he concluded.