BY World's Editorials Writers
Monday, November 26, 2012
11/26/12 at 2:58 AM
Bill Graves was "eccentric" - OK, a nut - when he was in the Legislature for 24 years, and as an Oklahoma County district judge he still is.
But a state appeals court set him straight on one thing last week: Graves can't deny a transgender person's name-change petition based on his personal interpretation of science and religion.
After going through gender-reassignment surgery, Steven Charles Harvey petitioned for a new name, Christie Ann Harvey.
Despite the fact that other judges in the Oklahoma County district court have routinely granted name changes in transgender cases, Graves denied Harvey's request. He ruled that because surgery could not change Harvey's DNA to that of a female, Harvey was still a man and his purposes in seeking a woman's name were fraudulent.
It was the second time that Graves, who as a legislator frequently attacked gays and lesbians, denied a transgender person's name change petition. He cited scripture in both decisions. In the earlier case Graves noted that the book of Genesis says that God created man and woman separately and opined that "the DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female."
A three-judge panel of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled last week that the lower court (Graves) "abused its authority" in denying Harvey's name change and ordered Graves to grant the petition. The appeals judges held that Graves' finding that Harvey sought a name change for illegal or fraudulent reasons was not supported by the evidence. They said that the law does not require that females be given women's names or that males have men's names.
Graves' ruling in the Harvey case was ridiculous and calls into question his fitness to serve as a district court judge.