The transgender widow of a firefighter is suing the City of Wharton, TX, for workers’ comp benefits that she was denied because she was born a man.
In 2008, Nikki Araguz married a Wharton County volunteer firefighter, Thomas Araguz. She underwent sexual reassignment surgery later that year.
Thomas Araguz was killed fighting a fire in July 2010.
Araguz applied for death benefits under workers’ comp but was denied them under the Texas administrative process. A judge also voided her marriage because Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.
Now she is suing the city for the death benefits.
Her attorney, Peggy Campbell, says the lawsuit isn’t about gay marriage. Campbell says this is about a man being married to a woman.
Campbell says if the lawsuit succeeds, Araguz should be entitled to a weekly benefit for the rest of her life or until she remarries.