I wrote earlier this month about Joanne Cassar, who has been embroiled in legal wrangling on Malta since 2006 over her right to marry. She just came away with a landmark case win that affirms her right as a transwoman to marry a man and spurred the Maltese Parliament to consider legislation that would make it easier for Maltese transpeople to administratively change identity documents .
Now that legal win is unfortunately being challenged. According to the Times of Malta, Malta's attorney general has filed an appeal in the case, something that Ms. Cassar feared would happen.
“When I heard the judge (Pace) read out the judgment I couldn’t believe it... I
wanted to phone everyone I knew. I started from my mother and
father,” Ms Cassar said with a surprising look of sadness in her eyes.
“All this forces me to remember the hardships I had to endure to achieve
what is mine by right.”
Malta's Labour Party said it was disappointed by the decision
of the Attorney General and the Marriage Registrar to appeal a decision
which had granted a transsexual - Joanne Cassar - the right to marry a
man after gender-reassignment surgery.
Spokesman Gino Cauchi said that Justice Ray Pace had rightly
decided that a person whose gender reassignment had been recognized by
the state and had her official documents changed, should enjoy the civil
rights which such a change brought about.
Alternattiva Demokratika also expressed disappointment with the Malta Attorney General's appeal.
" A democratic and responsible government should always protect
civil liberties without excluding any minority." said AD chairman Michael
Briguglio. 'The constitutional court had rightly
based its judgement on the charter of fundamental rights of the EU.
Yet, once again, the confessional ideology of state institutions is
rearing its ugly head. This only calls for more solidarity with the LGBT
movement in order that Malta would stop acting like the crib of the
In case you're wondering what the European Court's stance is on this issue, it has declared:
“…that a test of congruent biological factors can no longer be
decisive in denying legal recognition to the change of gender of a
post-operative transsexual. There are other important factors – the
acceptance of the condition of gender identity disorder by the medical
professions and health authorities within Contracting States, the
provision of treatment including surgery to assimilate the individual as
closely as possible to the gender in which they perceive that they
properly belong and the assumption by the transsexual of the social role
of the assigned gender.”
Ms. Cassar's attorneys have already filed a response to the AG's appeal of the Pace ruling.
But sadly, Joanne Cassar is going to have to fight another protracted legal battle for her
right to get married, something the European Court of Human Rights has already said she can.do.