Sex Change Becomes Marriage License Issue

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - Jacob Nash and Erin Barr already share a home, and they want to get married. Whether they can depends on a judge becoming convinced that Nash is a male.

"We want a white picket fence with our dogs and eventually children running in the front yard ... just like any other couple," Nash said.

With invitations mailed and other wedding arrangements in the works, the couple paid $44 to apply for a marriage license several weeks ago.

But on Aug. 2, Trumbull County Probate Judge Thomas Swift denied the license after learning that Nash's gender had changed, the Warren Tribune Chronicle reported Sunday.

"We were both very angry and disappointed," Barr said.

Nash, 37, was born a female named Pamela.

After a series of operations and taking hormones in treatments ending about four years ago, the Massachusetts native amended his birth certificate to reflect his gender as male.

Nash and Barr met in 1999 in a Christian chat room on the Internet.

Nash, who was living in New Hampshire, said he was forthcoming with Barr about his efforts to become a man.

"We started out as friends, but became romantically involved," the 30-year-old Barr said.

In the spring of that year, Nash agreed to move to Warren, where Barr was living. They settled in Howland.

Once Nash became an Ohio resident, he changed his name to Jacob Benjamin Nash. Swift approved the name change.

The couple has hired an attorney to help them with their legal obstacle to marriage, Barr said.

Swift is waiting for a legal opinion from the Trumbull County prosecutor before making any further ruling. That opinion is expected Monday.

Nash said he has leverage in the case because another Trumbull County resident in a similar situation was issued a marriage license and was married last month.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)