Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Trans Marriage Win In Malta!

Score one for our side!  

A trans marriage case in Malta ended happily for Joanne Cassar yesterday when Constitutional Court Justice Raymond C. Pace cited a previous European Court of Human Rights ruling in the case of Christine Goodwin vs. UK, then ruled that a ban on transgender marriage violated Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to marry.

Malta is a signatory state to the European Convention on Human Rights .

Cassar's case started in May 2006 when the Registrar of Marriages, despite Cassar being post surgical and having amended her birth certificate to reflect her current gender status, refused to issue the marriage banns for her and her fiance.

She took the Marriage Registrar to court and on February 12, 2007 her request was upheld by Justice Gino Camillleri.   He noted that the proposed union didn't violate any provision of Malta's Marriage Act and ordered the Marriage Registrar to issue the banns.

However, the Marriage Registrar appealed the decision, and in May 2008 won a reversal of the previous ruling in Justice Joseph R. Micallef's court and annulled the marriage banns.   

 Micallef stated that while the Marriage Act defined marriage as a union “between a man and a woman”, Maltese law offered no legal definition of either gender.

The court took into account various definitions including an affidavit signed by the former chairman of the Maltese parliamentary bio-ethics committee, Dr Michael Axiak.

His affidavit stated,  “after gender reassignment therapy, a person will have remained of the same sex as before the operation.”

Justice Micallef noted that Cassar’s birth certificate was only intended to protect the right to privacy and to avoid embarrassment. He therefore upheld the marriage registrar’s request and annulled the issued marriage banns.

Cassar was highly disappointed about the reversal and stated at the time, "One court allowed me to get married but another took it away from me.”   

Now thanks to Justice Pace, Cassar has won the right to marry her fiancée.

The Marriage Registrar has 20 days to appeal the ruling.   

Here's hoping the registrar backs off so that Cassar can finally plan her wedding and get married and as I suspect, my friends at Frye and Associates are taking notes..

TransGriot Update:  Discovered that the stress of the multiyear court battle broke up Ms. Cassar's long relationship with her fiancé that she'd planned to marry in December 2007.    
Although the 29 year old is hopeful, she is convinced trans marriage rights deserved to be fought for even if she was not the lucky one to walk down the aisle.

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