Archive for Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Judge finds transgender innocent

November 17, 2004

Sandy Gast's record again is clean.

After hearing two days of testimony, Leavenworth County District Judge Frederick Stewart ruled Tuesday afternoon that Gast, a transgender, was not guilty of false swearing on a marriage license earlier this year.

Gast applied for a marriage license in February in Leavenworth. Gast, who at the time was in transition to become a woman, planned to marry

Georgi Somers, 63, a man living as a woman. Gast and Somers planned to marry, but Somers' daughter informed county sheriff's officials of the couple's intentions, and Gast was arrested and charged with making a false swearing, a misdemeanor.

Gast, 49, who last month successfully had a sex change operation, legally had her birth certificate and driver's license changed from Edward Francis Gast to Sandra Clarissa Gast last year in Wyandotte County.

According to Gast's Topeka attorney, Pedro Irigonegaray, the marriage license was turned into county officials before the trial, which started Monday.

The judge ruled that Gast "did not knowingly, intentionally and willingly mislead" district court officials when she applied for the license, marking boxes stating she was a woman.

Court testimony centered on Gast's beliefs and desires about being a woman.

"The state should not have authority to deny (transsexuals) their fundamental rights to marriage," Irigonegaray said, noting that issues raised in Gast's case are different from those surrounding the same-sex marriage debate.

"This is a case where my client has been criminally charged and is being criminally prosecuted for no other reason than the fact she believes herself to be a woman," he said.

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