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Judge's ruling voids Nikki Araguz's marriage

By adriana_acosta
June 1, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.
Updated June 2, 2011 at 1:02 a.m.

Nikki Araguz, left, leaves the the Wharton Civic Center after the funeral of Thomas Araguz III. Nikki was widowed after her husband died in the line of duty on July 4th. LANCE BOOTH/LBOOTH@VICAD.COM

WHARTON - A Wharton County judge has voided the marriage of transsexual widow Nikki Araguz.

State District Judge Randy Clapp ruled Tuesday that Thomas Trevino Araguz III was not married to Nikki Araguz on July 4, the date of his death, and said the marriage was "void as a matter of law."

The order disposes of all pending claims and issues concerning the case, according to the ruling, which was released on Wednesday.

Attorneys of Nikki Araguz would not comment on the ruling.

The judge's ruling determined who would take control of $600,000 in death benefits. Veteran firefighter Thomas Araguz III was killed last year while fighting a fire at an egg farm near Boling.

Simona Longoria, Thomas Araguz's mother, filed a lawsuit last year stating the money from his death benefits should be divided between her late son's two children because her son's widow was born a man.

Longoria also asked the court to deem the marriage void because at the time of the marriage, both her son and Araguz were male.

The family argued the widow was born a man, and Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Heather Delgado, the ex-wife of Thomas Araguz, joined Longoria in the lawsuit.

At a court hearing last month, arguments from attorneys representing family members of the firefighter and his widow were heard by the judge at the Wharton County Courthouse.

School, birth and medical records showing Araguz was a male before and during the marriage to her late husband were presented in court.

Attorneys for Araguz are expected to release an official statement on Thursday on the ruling.

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