Alleged transgender widow benefits frozen

July 23, 2010 at 4:16 PM

WHARTON, Texas, July 23 (UPI) -- A Texas judge ordered a firefighter's widow, who was alleged to have been born a man, not to spend or collect any death benefits from her husband.

State District Judge Randy Clapp issued the temporary order Friday when allegedly transgendered Nikki Araguz revealed she had received $60,000 of the expected $600,000 cash payout from the death of her husband, Wharton County firefighter Thomas Araguz, in a July 4 farm inferno, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

The order stems from a lawsuit filed by Thomas Araguz's parents claiming the marriage was void because the bride was born male. Clapp presided over Friday's hearing, which was the first step in the process of determining the legality of the marriage.

Nikki Araguz said Thursday she denies any allegations she lied to her late husband about her history.

A 1991 Texas court case defined gender in the state as determined by three factors, gonads, genitalia and chromosomes at the time of birth.

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