Kansas court rules on biology and validity of marriage

Classification: Law

In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002), was a challenge to J'Noel Gardiner's claim, as a widow, for letters of administration and inheritance from Marshall Gardiner's estate. The Kansas Supreme Court refused to recognize J'Noel, a post-operative male-to-female transsexual, as female for purposes of marriage, instead finding that the law contemplates "a biological man and a biological woman" for a valid marriage. This ruling reverses the court of appeals' more flexible approach, which relied on Professor Julie Greenberg's article in the Arizona Law Review article and said courts should consider multiple factors to determine sex. The court of appeals opinion appears at 22 P.3d 1086 (Kan. Ct. App. 2001).

Greenberg, Julie A. 1998. Defining Male and Female: Intersexuality and the Collision Between Law and Biology. Arizona Law Review 41 (2):265-328.