Transsexual Couple Seeks New License
[WARREN, OH] - After a judge turned down their marriage application and refused to reconsider his decision, a Howland couple, which includes a transsexual, started back at square one Wednesday morning.
Jacob Benjamin Nash, 37, and Erin Angelina Barr, 30, both of Dawson Drive S.E., again applied for a marriage license, this time with the admission that Nash once was married as a woman in Massachusetts and legally divorced.
''This court has already made up its mind. I told the magistrate that the judge is asking to be dragged into federal court,'' said the couple's attorney, Randi Barnabee.
The couple first filed for a license Aug. 2. Following a hearing Sept. 20, Probate Judge Thomas Swift turned them down, ruling that Nash and Barr intentionally withheld information on their marriage license application.
Swift's ruling also said, ''The designation of sex on an Ohio's driver's license is not necessarily determinative of a person's sex for the purpose of marriage.''
The court's policy, based on Ohio law, has been that a person's sex is determined by chromosomes and not body parts.
The couple admitted neglecting to tell court officials about Nash's marriage but disagree with the determination of sex.
So Wednesday, the couple appeared in Probate Court to apply again for a marriage license, this time taking a new oath and revealing that Nash had previously been married under the name Pamela Ann Nash- Michalak. They produced their Ohio driver's licenses as a form of identification. They were told by a court official that their application request would be set for a new hearing at 10 a.m. Nov. 5.
Swift also issued a journal entry that noted Nash, during the first hearing, refused on the advice of an attorney to answer ''questions of the court relating to the factors that contribute to the designation and determination of a person's sex.''
''The judge is completely correct,'' said Barnabee, who accompanied the couple to court. ''But that (driver's license) is what the court relies on when applying for a marriage license.''
Barnabee said the couple hasn't decided whether to appeal Swift's initial ruling, file a federal civil rights lawsuit or do both.
''We will be at the hearing though,'' Barnabee said.