Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New York City Adopts Equal Access Policy For Marriage Licenses For Trans People

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund announced that the city of New York has adopted a new policy that took effect on February 7, 2011 that ensures trans people equal access to marriage licenses.

Transpeople in New York City have had issues interacting with the City Clerk's office when trying to obtain marriage licenses.   There was the highly publicized case of Jason Stenson and transwoman Kimah Nelson who legally obtained a marriage license, were married ten days after doing so on May 26, 2009 but when news broke that Kimah was trans the license was retroactively revoked.

A few months later in December 2009 a trans couple who wishes to remain anonymous tried to get married in the Bronx    According to TLDEF they fulfilled the requirements for receiving a marriage license in New York City and presented their government-issued photo identification – the only identification required by the City Clerk’s office.  Rather than issuing the marriage license, the City Clerk refused and instead demanded that Jane and John produce their birth certificates before they could be married – something not required of other marriage license applicants.

In order to settle legal action, under the terms of the new policy, once a marriage license applicant produces the required photo ID, the City Clerk may not request additional proof of sex.  Moreover, City Clerk employees are forbidden from considering  the applicant's appearance or preconceived notions related to gender expression when deciding whether to issue a marriage license.

The City Clerk also apologized to Jane and John as well and initiated training for all city clerks so that the new policies can be properly implemented.

And thanks to TLDEF for all their work in ensuring fair treatment of transpeople who seek to get married, and Jane and John for being tough minded enough to fight the injustice

No comments: