Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Appeals Court Reverses Denial of Name Change After Gender Reassignment

In In re Steven Charles Harvey, (OK Ct. Civil App., Nov. 20, 2012), an Oklahoma appeals court held that a trial court judge abused his discretion in denying Steven Charles Harvey, who was undergoing a sex change, the right to change his name to Christie Ann Harvey. The trial judge (full text of trial court opinion) had held that it would assist that which is fraudulent to allow the name change because "a sex change cannot make a man a woman or a woman a man." The trial judge argued this could lead to inadvertent or illegal same-sex marriage, or, in case of a crime, could lead police to ignore a female suspect because they had retrieved male DNA.  In support of his denial of the name change petition, the trial court judge quoted from the Biblical book of Genesis: "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them...." and went on to say: "The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female." The appeals court agreed with petitioner that there is nothing fraudulent in the use of a traditionally female name by one with male DNA. The Oklahoman reports on the appeals court decision.