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Intersex American's illegal marriage to NZer

Tue 11 Dec 2007 In: International News View at Wayback View at NDHA

A New Zealand woman who married an intersex American has had her marriage licence quashed and been refused permission to stay in the United States. The woman, who has not been named, married Stephan Thomas Calewarts – also known as Stephanie Tia Calewarts – in September 2006. According to court records, Calewarts was born with "ambiguous genitalia" – tissue for both a penis and a vagina – but his birth certificate identified him as male. Stephanie Calewarts – whose name was legally changed in 2000 – asked a Brown County, Wisconsin circuit judge in October 2006 to change his birth certificate back to a male gender. When the judge refused, the county revoked the couple's marriage licence because his birth certificate listed him as female and same-sex marriages are illegal in Wisconsin. Because the marriage was null, the New Zealander couldn't get a visa to stay in the United States, Calewarts told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "I am scared to death right now," Calewarts said when told of an appeals court decision. "I am not going to see my wife. She is the only thing that means anything to me. I am a nobody right now." He had claimed that the 2000 court order changing his birth certificate to female was an error based on mistakes and misunderstandings. Calewarts, 58, said he had some surgery done for health reasons, not to change his sex. The District Court of Appeals ruled that Calewarts had run out of time to appeal or challenge the earlier court decision, but he vowed to continue his legal appeal. "If I have got to take it to the Federal Supreme Court, I will," he said. Calewarts had surgery in July 1999 to remove his testicles and after gender reassignment surgery in Montreal in 2000, asked for his birth certificate to be changed to female, court records said. "I thought I was going to have two birth certificates. One of each. Big deal. I was born with two genders," Calewarts said. "I can't have sexual intercourse because nothing works." Calewarts said he had already spent $US2000 (NZ $2,651) trying to fix his birth certificate.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Tuesday, 11th December 2007 - 11:13am

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