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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Marriage Oath In Ohio County Asks If Person Is Transsexual
by Newscenter Staff

(Springfield, Ohio) Couples planning to marry in Clark County, Ohio are asked if either person is transsexual. It is believed to be the only jurisdiction in the country where people are asked to swear they are not transgendered before receiving a marriage license.

Under Ohio law a person's birth gender is the only one considered legal. It does not bar transsexuals from marrying but means that a male to female transsexual can only marry a woman.

The practice in Clark County came to light when the Springfield News Sun asked county clerks across the state for copies of the oaths they use when issuing marriage licenses.

"Do you solemnly swear you are not a transsexual..."

"Do you solemnly swear you are not a transsexual..." the Clark clerk asks people when they apply for a marriage license.

Applicants must also swear they are not related closer than second cousins, are under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance or infected with syphilis.

Sharon Weldy, the deputy clerk of Clark County Probate Court, tells the News Sun that some people ask for the definition of a transsexual. She said she had to look it up when she first started her job. A transsexual has had a sex-change surgery, according to state law she said.

No one has ever answered yes, she told the paper.

The addition of the sexuality question dates back to 1987 when a judge ruled a woman and her fiance could not be granted a marriage license because the finace had been born female but had female to male sex reassignment surgery.

The ruling held that chromosomes, not genitals, determine sex. Following the decision the county decided to ask the question in the oath.

But while a trans woman can legally marry a female in Ohio gay and lesbian couples cannot marry. The state in 2004 passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

© 2006


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