The Season 6 premiere of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” provides no shortage of modern legal issues. One in particular is an interesting spin on an incendiary modern debate. On the September 16th airing of “Mac Fights Gay Marriage,” the gang’s outspoken supporter of the Catholic Church, Mac (Rob McElhenney), is reunited with an old flame in “Carmen the tranny” (Brittany Daniel). Mac eludes to their previous relationship, in which Mac discovers that the beautiful Carmen is, in reality, a man. Their encounter in the gym is not without conflict, as Mac discovers that not only has Carmen finally completed her sex-change, but that she is also married. Infuriated that he did not get a phone call from Carmen after the operation, Mac sets out to put an end to the marriage. Mac claims that Carmen’s union is a gay marriage, is “against God,” and therefore should not be allowed.

An interesting legal issue in the realm of Family Law is prompted by the seemingly endless insanity perpetuated by “the gang.”  In Pennsylvania, would the marriage between Carmen, a post-op transsexual female, and her husband be legal?  And for the sake of comparison (since this is a civil law jurisdiction), in Louisiana, would Mac be correct in stating that Carmen’s new marriage is not legal?

Pennsylvania law is firm in its stance that same-sex marriages are not allowed, as evidenced by 23 PA C.S.A. 1704. The State isn’t even perfectly clear as to whether a person obtaining a legal sex change may enter into a union with a member of the now-opposite sex.  However, recent developments in PA law have made steps in the direction of this sort of occurrence, as evidenced by the Pennsylvania Legislature’s efforts to allow drivers to change their sex on their driver’s licenses to reflect a sex change operation.

The issue of whether or not a transsexual can marry a member of the same sex is not one easily solved by simply looking at the LA Civil Code, but inferences can be drawn by analyzing similar code articles and revised statutes. In LA, a marriage between members of the same sex is absolutely null. Article 89 of the LA Civil Code states that “persons of the same sex may not contract marriage with each other.” The code is silent on the issue of whether a transsexual may marry someone of the “same” sex. However, LA R.S. 40:62 allows for certain individuals undergoing a sex change operation to change their sex on their birth certificate. This theoretically would allow for Carmen to become a female, have her sex changed on her birth certificate, and then be able to marry a man. But of course, the law is not that easy to use for purposes that LA Courts would consider contrary to the intent of legislation. The statute limits its use to those individuals that can prove that they had some sort of deviation at birth. More specifically, it would allow for people born in a situation where gender is questionable to correct their issues and have new birth certificates created that reflect the changes. In this case, however, Carmen was born indisputably male, thus preventing her from benefitting from the Louisiana law. As much as it pains anyone to say it, Mac was likely right.