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AP Ignores Details Of Same Sex Marriage

From those lovers of diversity at the Associated Press:

Wisconsin couple says ‘I do’ after judge says ‘they can’

03/24/2007

MILWAUKEE (AP) – A transsexual and a woman were married Friday after a judge found there was no legal reason to prevent it.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Hansher said he had spoken to a doctor who advised that Barbara Lynn Terry, 58, remained a man physically even though he lives as a female.

“However, if he had wished to marry a man, the court would have decided otherwise and refused to marry them since this would be an invalid same-sex marriage under the law,” the judge said in a prepared statement.

Terry, born in Iowa as Ronald Terry, married 22-year-old Australian Nicole Winstanley.

Milwaukee County Clerk Mark Ryan said the pair applied for a marriage license March 5 and a license was issued March 12.

He said they showed documents stating that Terry was a male and Winstanley was a female and made a sworn statement to that effect.

What a beautiful story of love triumphant.

Funny that the Associated Press chose to leave out some of the details reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Mrs. and Mrs. Terry are man and wife

Confirmation of male anatomy makes marriage legal, judge rules

By DERRICK NUNNALLY
March 23, 2007

Despite Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban, Barbara Lynn Terry and Nicole Winstanley carried purses into a judge’s office Friday and emerged as Mrs. and Mrs. Terry.

But first, a doctor had to confirm the male anatomy of Barbara Lynn Terry, who was born a man, lives as a woman and has been undergoing hormone therapy for years.

“That’s all I needed to hear,” Circuit Judge David A. Hansher told the doctor, via speakerphone, after learning that gender-reassignment surgery hadn’t been performed on the person who used to be Ronald Francis Terry.

The wedding – between a 58-year-old transgendered convicted rapist and a 22-year-old Australian lesbian who came to the United States last month to marry a person she’d never met – is the first in recent Wisconsin memory to be accompanied by a written statement of the judge’s legal rationale for performing it.

“Since Barbara Lynn Terry is a man under the law and has taken no steps to surgically become a woman, there is no legal impediment to marrying them,” Hansher wrote. “In sum, he is still a man and his bride a woman.”

With that, he performed a wedding that pronounced “husband and wife” upon the couple, who spent the next few hours joking about who is the wife. “I would’ve signed as husband if they would’ve let me,” Nicole Winstanley Terry said.

“It doesn’t matter what the legal definition is,” Barbara Lynn Terry said solemnly, while embracing her new spouse. “We know better.”

The couple tried to duck photographers and television cameras that had been the only courtroom witnesses to their union, which was performed in a judge’s chambers. Neither had expected publicity to come from filing a $100 marriage-license application with the Milwaukee County clerk.

Their first try for a quick courtroom wedding was denied March 16, pending a review of whether a wedding between women named Barbara and Nicole was legal, and the delay was enough for unwanted attention to arrive.

After the nuptials, the couple rode the No. 10 bus to their first married meal at the Old Country Buffet on S. 76th St. Over pasta, sausage and sauerkraut, they described how their relationship formed online in February 2006, through a Web site’s outlets for stories and discussion groups.

That turned into e-mail correspondence, then instant-message conversations led to telephoning and Web cam use. Then Nicole Winstanley, still in Melbourne, told her mother that she was in love.

“She chucked a hissy fit the first time I told her,” Nicole Terry said.

Then the mother got the chance to get acquainted with her daughter’s new spouse.

“She’s fine with it now,” Nicole Terry said.

Hurdles to overcome

The gap in ages, they conceded, is monumental. Barbara Lynn Terry is older than her Australian mother-in-law; Nicole Terry is younger than her stepdaughters.

And there is a daunting biographical item the couple discussed: Ronald Francis Terry was convicted of raping a woman twice in 1970, was imprisoned and underwent psychological treatment.

Barbara Lynn Terry, who legally petitioned for a name change from Ronald Francis Terry in 1980, claims she was framed by police and convicted by an indifferent system. She claims – marriage notwithstanding – that she has never felt any attraction to women, let alone the impulse to rape one.

The younger woman believes this account.

“I’ve been with her over a month now,” Nicole Terry said. “If she was a rapist, don’t you think she would have done something to me by now?”

The couple said they’d had limited premarital physical contact. Barbara Lynn Terry feels trapped with a man’s gender characteristics, which Nicole Terry finds “gross.” They’re both eager for surgery for Barbara Lynn Terry, though money has kept her from setting it up.

Regardless, they still cuddled, giddy with being newlyweds. “I’m sorry, I’ve never been married before,” Nicole Terry said.

Her new spouse has, and Barbara Lynn Terry’s two daughters said they reject the new marriage. They and their stepsisters only learned after their mother died in 2000 about the name change that predated their parents’ 1981 wedding. Learning of their father’s gender-altering desires was “shocking” – as was the rape conviction they only heard about from a newspaper article this week.

“I can’t keep dealing with this,” said Gloria Wilson, who is five days older than her new stepmother.

“My sisters and I have decided that we want nothing more to do with him,” she said. “That’s what we all decided. It’s better for us.”

Meanwhile, the newlyweds plan to fill out papers allowing Nicole Terry a permanent visa so she can work.

Madison attorney Leslie D. Shear, director of the family law project for the Frank J. Remington Center at the University of Wisconsin Law School, said immigration status isn’t a done deal just because the wedding was allowed. Immigration officials will want to know the marriage wasn’t just to get a visa.

“Assuming immigration isn’t an issue, they should move to Massachusetts,” Shear said. “She can have sex reassignment surgery there and they’ll still be married.”

But why should the readers be troubled with such details as that the “husband” is a convicted rapist?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, March 24th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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