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Appeals Court Hears Transgender Widow’s Fight

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File photo of a courtroom. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a courtroom. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — The transgender widow of a fallen South Texas firefighter is asking a state appeals court to reverse a ruling that their marriage wasn’t legally binding.

Nikki Araguz was married to Wharton County volunteer firefighter Thomas Araguz when he died while fighting a fire three years ago. She says she’s entitled to his death benefits, worth an estimated $500,000.

But Araguz’s first wife and his mother say the money should go to his two sons because Nikki Araguz was born a man and thus in a marriage not binding under Texas law. A district judge two years ago ruled in their favor.

Three judges from the 13th Texas Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case Thursday.

They announced no immediate timetable on a ruling.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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