Gender Bender: Marriage Rights. (Citings)
Rimensnyder, Sara, Reason
TRANSSEXUAL WIDOW J'Noel Gardiner, whose 1998 marriage was recently declared invalid in Kansas, has never welcomed media attention. In one of few comments to the press during the three-year run of her case, she told the Kansas City Star, "It's a private lawsuit and nobody's business. Why don't you go join the Jerry Springer Show?"
She should be right. The trouble is, restrictions on marriage codified in law turn private sex lives into public business.
J'Noel's legal troubles began in 1999, when her husband Marshall passed away without a will. Soon, Marshall's estranged son Joe Gardiner found out that J'Noel was once jay Noel, and he challenged her right to share the $2.5 million estate under a state law that automatically gives a portion to a decedent's spouse.
J'Noel's sex change had taken place in 1994, in Wisconsin. Afterward, authorities there allowed her to change her name and the sex on her birth certificate from male to female. …