An Oklahoma state judge named Bill Graves has had his decision to deny a transgender woman a legal name change overturned by an appeals court. Graves actually quoted the Bible in his ruling and the appeals court ruled that he abused his discretion in denying the name change.
An Oklahoma appeals court ruled Friday that a woman who became female through gender-reassignment surgery has the right to change her name in spite of a district judge’s opinion that to do so “is fraudulent.”
A unanimous three-judge panel of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals handed down the ruling in an application filed by James Dean Ingram for a change of name to Angela Renee Ingram.
The ruling reversed a decision by Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves, who denied the application in a November 2012 ruling that said sex change surgery “is a counterfeit” and does not change a person’s DNA.
“Thus, based on the scientific evidence of DNA, a sex change cannot make a man a woman or a woman a man,” the ruling said. “To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent.”
The case is the second in the past two years in which the appeals court has reversed Graves on a name change issue. In a separate 2012 case, Graves rejected an application from a person seeking a name change from Steven Charles Harvey to Christie Ann Harvey.
In both cases, Graves cited passages from the Bible including verses from the book of Genesis that read in part: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
“The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female,” Graves ruled in the Ingram case.
Graves, a former Republican state lawmaker, said Friday that the latest appeals court ruling is “very disappointing.”
“We can’t change our sex, the way God made us. These things are really counterfeit,” the judge said. Nevertheless, Graves said he will grant the name change application as instructed by the appeals court.
“I’ll have to follow what they say,” he said.
Yes, you will. Because your job is to apply the law, not to enforce your religious beliefs on people. I can’t imagine why that is so difficult to grasp.