- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 22, 2003

Transsexual granted custody of child

CLEARWATER, Fla. A judge yesterday granted child custody to a female-to-male transsexual engaged in a bitter divorce and ruled that the person is a man under Florida law.

The ruling confirms Michael Kantaras, who was born female, is the legal parent of the couple's two children, a boy whom he adopted and a daughter she conceived during their marriage with donated sperm.

Attorneys for Mr. Kantaras' former wife had argued that Mr. Kantaras was not legally a man when they married in 1989 so the marriage was invalid.

"I'm so relieved," Michael Kantaras said after the ruling. "Now my kids and I can get on with our lives in peace." The decision was the first of its kind in the Florida, which bans same-sex "marriages" and homosexuals from adopting children.

Colorado fire-starter gets six-year sentence

DENVER A former U.S. Forest Service employee was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday for setting the biggest wildfire in Colorado history, a blaze last summer that destroyed more than 130 homes.

"The fact that I hurt people kills me each and every day, because I do love people," Terry Lynn Barton, 39, said in federal court. "So I'd just like to say that I am sorry."

She pleaded guilty in December to federal arson charges and last month to a state arson charge. The state charge could bring up to 12 years behind bars at sentencing March 5.

The 138,000-acre fire southwest of Denver destroyed 133 homes and one business, causing an estimated $13 million in damage.

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