A judge in Texas is expected to declare a trans widow’s marriage void after her husband’s family launched a legal challenge.
The family of fallen firefighter Thomas Araguz III say his marriage was not valid because Texas does not recognise same-sex marriage.
The ruling will mean that widow Nikki Araguz, who lost her husband in a blaze last July, will not be entitled to survivor benefits.
District Judge Randy Clapp announced his decision in a draft ruling this week.
Ms Araguz, according to some reports, is intersex and appeared to be male at birth. Most reports say she is transgender.
She married Mr Araguz in 2008 and says she told him she was born with a “birth defect [which] could be identified as being transgendered”.
She had sex reassignment surgery shortly after their wedding, having legally changed her name several years before.
Mr Araguz died last year while tackling a blaze at an egg farm. His widow stood to collect around $600,000 in death benefits until his family intervened.
His mother, Simona Longoria, and ex-wife, Heather Delgado, filed a lawsuit claiming that the fallen firefighter separated from Ms Araguz after learning of her trans history.
The family say that Ms Araguz should not inherit his estate and benefits because the couple were two men and Texas does not recognise gay marriage.
Instead, they want the money to go to Mr Araguz’s two young sons from a previous marriage.
Ms Araguz denies lying to her husband and claims he chose to marry her and supported her through the final stages of her treatment.