Here's a legal riddle: Can a man marry a woman, but still violate a ban on same-sex marriages?

It will be up to some of the great minds of Kentucky law to find an answer.

The courtroom brainteaser comes courtesy of a Louisville marital dispute or, better yet, the case of the Paul who became a Paula.

The Paul in this scenario is Paul Spina. About 22 years ago, Spina married Sharon Hays, whose family owns a big Ford dealership in Louisville. Spina went to work for the in-laws, serving as general counsel to the company's network of car dealerships. Spina says he and his wife accumulated company stock worth millions of dollars.

Last year, Spina went to Thailand and underwent a sex-change operation. He returned with a new name: Paula Spina.

Spina's wife reacted by trying to get their marriage annulled. Among her legal arguments is the claim that Paul Spina was always psychologically a woman and, therefore, violated Kentucky's law prohibiting same-sex marriages when they said their "I do's."

Spina's attorneys have argued that their client was obviously a man when the couple wed. After all, he fathered two children. Sharon Spina's attorneys did not return calls.

The annulment request, which was dismissed this spring by a county judge, is on its way to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Paula "is being mistreated," said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a board member of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute. "This is really a despicable legal tactic."

-- Manuel Roig-Franzia

Paula Spina says stock accumulated during marriage to Sharon Hays is worth millions. Hays's request for an annulment was denied in the spring and is headed for appeals court.Spina, once known as Paul, underwent a sex change last year. Spina's wife says Spina was always psychologically a woman. The couple have two children and were wed 22 years ago.