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Judge: Couple only at hearing



Published: Thu, September 5, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The couple paid the $44 fee for a marriage license, but the request is pending.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A Trumbull County Probate Court judge has denied a request from the American Family Association of Ohio and a local pastor to participate in a hearing on a transsexual male's quest to marry.

Judge Thomas Swift denied Wednesday the motion filed by Atty. David R. Langdon of Cincinnati on behalf of AFAO and the Rev. David Black of Calvary Presbyterian Church and Convenant Presbyterian Church. Langdon wanted to participate in the hearing of Jacob B. Nash and Erin Barr of Dawson Drive S.E., Howland.

Langdon's brief stated that he wanted to be heard so that the judge's decision on whether to grant the license wouldn't be decided after hearing "one side of the story."

The brief further notes that AFAO is a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to "promote and defend the institution of marriage, thereby preserving its continuing vitality and traditional function as a foundational structure in society. As such, AFA of Ohio has a strong interest in the issues before the court."

The Rev. Mr. Black, a taxpayer of the county, is also opposed to the issuance of a marriage license to the applicants, the brief states.

Purpose of hearing

The judge, however, stated in his ruling that today's hearing is designed solely to allow the couple to give reasons why they believe they should be granted a marriage license.

Nash and Barr filed an application for marriage Aug. 2 in Trumbull County Probate Court. The couple paid the $44 fee, but their application is still pending, court records state.

Court officials said Nash is a transsexual and Nash presented an amended Massachusetts birth certificate, which states he is a male, when seeking the application. Court officials did not know what year Nash's birth certificate was amended.

A transsexual is described in Webster's New World Dictionary as "a person who is predisposed to identify with the opposite sex, sometimes so strongly as to undergo surgery and hormone injections to effect a change of sex."

Atty. Deborah Smith, who represents the couple, has said she believes the two should be granted a marriage license because state law says that to get a license, one person has to produce a birth certificate showing he is male and the other has to produce a birth certificate showing she is female.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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