Appeals Court Overturns Appalling Bill Graves Decision

An Oklahoma state judge named Bill Graves has had his decision to deny a transgender woman a legal name change overturned by an appeals court. Graves actually quoted the Bible in his ruling and the appeals court ruled that he abused his discretion in denying the name change.

An Oklahoma appeals court ruled Friday that a woman who became female through gender-reassignment surgery has the right to change her name in spite of a district judge’s opinion that to do so “is fraudulent.”

A unanimous three-judge panel of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals handed down the ruling in an application filed by James Dean Ingram for a change of name to Angela Renee Ingram.

The ruling reversed a decision by Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves, who denied the application in a November 2012 ruling that said sex change surgery “is a counterfeit” and does not change a person’s DNA.

“Thus, based on the scientific evidence of DNA, a sex change cannot make a man a woman or a woman a man,” the ruling said. “To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent.”

The case is the second in the past two years in which the appeals court has reversed Graves on a name change issue. In a separate 2012 case, Graves rejected an application from a person seeking a name change from Steven Charles Harvey to Christie Ann Harvey.

In both cases, Graves cited passages from the Bible including verses from the book of Genesis that read in part: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

“The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female,” Graves ruled in the Ingram case.

You probably don’t know who Bill Graves is, but I do. He was the attorney who represented the school board in Little Axe, Oklahoma when Joann Bell filed suit against the school for violating the Establishment Clause (she was assaulted by a school employee, put in the hospital and had her house firebombed for it). He’s also a Christian Reconstructionist who called RJ Rushdoony to the witness stand in that case. And he still doesn’t get it:

Graves, a former Republican state lawmaker, said Friday that the latest appeals court ruling is “very disappointing.”

“We can’t change our sex, the way God made us. These things are really counterfeit,” the judge said. Nevertheless, Graves said he will grant the name change application as instructed by the appeals court.

“I’ll have to follow what they say,” he said.

Yes, you will. Because your job is to apply the law, not to enforce your religious beliefs on people. I can’t imagine why that is so difficult to grasp.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    Graves sounds confused. He was asked to approve the name change, not the sex change.

  2. eric says

    He’s an elected judge. I suspect the publicity was part of the point,and he’s perfectly happy with getting a decision overturned if the overturning helps him win reelection in the next few years.

  3. John Pieret says

    “We can’t change our sex, the way God made us. These things are really counterfeit,”

    Where in the Bible does it say we can’t change our names?

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    “To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent.”

    Doesn’t a fraud accusation have to include an example of someone being defrauded?

  5. says

    The screenplay I wrote was a Western called “The Appaling Bill Graves”. Its sequel was Unforgiven (they changed his name to “William Munny” for that one). True story.

  6. cptdoom says

    Could someone photocopy the chapter on intersex people from a biology textbook and send it to this idiot? I’d suggest scanning and emailing it, but something tells me this guy is so backward he still uses a rotary dial.

  7. cry4turtles says

    Wonder what the Judge would’ve done if they would’ve applied for names such as “Bobby Joe” or “Lynn” or “Kim”? I imagine da smoke would’ve come outta his ears!

  8. says

    Apparently the judge doesn’t live in an area where a lot of what used to be men’s names, like Avery, are becoming common women’s names.

  9. says

    He should read Genesis 2

    God made Adam (presumably XY)

    God removed one of Adam’s ribs (A must have started with more on one side)

    God made a woman out of the rib

    At some point the material’s genetics must have been changed to XX

    so—“The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female,”

    BLASPHEMY! BLASPHEMY!!!1!

    I suppose we have to stone the judge now.

  10. Abby Normal says

    What’s this guy’s problem with misleading labels? After all, he gets to be called Judge.

  11. naturalcynic says

    Tsk, tsk, Ed. You missed the best part. The dishonorable judge left the legislature in 2004 because of term limits and was replaced by Sally Kern

  12. David C Brayton says

    I can’t help but think of Pat from Saturday Night Live. What would Graves initial ruling have been if Ingram asked to change her name to Pat. Or Kris or Robin.

    @richard el guru. I was born with an extra rib. It’s is a not-that-rare occurrence.

  13. says

    The “Rumpole of the Bailey” books had a judge named Graves, whom Horace Rumpole referred to as “Injustice Graves”. (British judges are normally addressed as “Justice _____”.) Somehow, that fits in this case.

    Denying a change of name based on DNA is utterly idiotic. What if it were a person changing a name to that of the person’s same gender (e.g. Mary becomes Lisa, Bob becomes Fred)? Is he going to deny that too? If not, then there was no justification for what he did.

  14. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Yes, you will. Because your job is to apply the law, not to enforce your religious beliefs on people. I can’t imagine why that is so difficult to grasp.

    Me either especially for someone supposedly smart enough to become a lawyer and eventually a judge.

    How ridiculous and wrong can you get?

    Note to Republicans and religious righters – this is a rhetorical question NOT a challenge!

  15. eric says

    @14 – this guy is an elected Judge, not an appointed one. So he did not (necessarily) follow the “smart enough to become a lawyer and then a judge” career path. He may still have a law degree – I have no idea about that – but before his current gig he was a state legislator.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply