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More than five years after firefighter's death, transgender widow to get his death benefits

Nikki Araguz Lloyd finally prevails in legal battle with late husband's family

More than five years after firefighter's death, transgender widow to get his death benefits
Photo: Nikki Araguz Loyd via Twitter
Nikki Araguz Loyd will finally receive late husband's death benefits

Transgender widow Nikki Araguz Loyd has finally prevailed in a more than five year legal battle against her late husband’s family over his death benefits.

On Friday (20 November), a state district judge in Texas ruled that Loyd was legally married to Thomas Araguz at the time of his death in 2010 while fighting a fire.

Loyd, a well-known activist, posted the legal judgment on her Facebook page.

‘Done and done,’ she wrote on Facebook. ‘All is at it should be. Now to ride into the sunset, happily ever after!’

It’s a legal victory made possible by same-sex marriage now being recognized by all 50 states following a landmark US Supreme Court ruling last June.

After Araguz’s tragic death, Loyd’s website states that his family immediately froze her out, prevented from seeing her stepchildren, and treated as if she were a stranger. His parents and ex-wife also filed lawsuits in an effort to take her benefits as a firefighter’s spouse.

In the suit brought on by the parents, a judge in 2011 voided the couple’s marriage and denied the widow her death benefits because the state of Texas did not recognize same-sex marriages.

Loyd, who later remarried, vowed to continue her battle for the sake of others like her and had filed her own lawsuit against the City of Wharton.

Loyd had legally changed her name and underwent sexual reassignment surgery in 1996. The position of her attorneys had been that it was not a gay marriage issue – it was about a man being married to a woman.

 


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