Thursday, 24 February 2011

Times: Joanne Cassar files submissions in sex change case

Lawyers refer to European Court ruling
Tuesday, 15th February 2011 - 17:48CET

Joanne Cassar has filed submissions following an appeal by the Attorney General from a court decision which recognised her gender reassignment surgery and gave her the right to marry a man.

In the submissions, Cassar's lawyers pointed out that in part of the first court's judgement, it had made a reference to a section of law introduced a few years ago by which transsexuals could file a court application to have the details changed on their birth certificate.

The judge had stated that since the government had introduced this section, then for all intents and purposes at law the State was recognising the transsexual as a woman. Therefore all the legal consequences followed, and thus the State had to allow Ms Cassar to marry a man.

They rejected the claim, first made by the Director of Public Registry, that this section of law was introduced only to protect the person's privacy and not because the State was recognising her acquired sex.

The lawyers also referred to the Human Rights case, Christine Goodwin vs. UK where the court had ruled that the state could not prevent such people from getting married.

Defence counsel argued that what the judgement of Goodwin vs UK stated was that the European Court felt it was time to reconsider the position of transsexuals, given not only the developments in the view of marriage but also the developments in medicine and science with regards to the transsexuasl' situation.

The world of medicine and science were recognising that transsexuals had a condition that needed to be catered for. The European Court in that case stated that the State could not restrict their right of marriage to such an extreme that the very essence of the right was impaired.

Judgment has been deferred for the end of May.

Lawyers Jose Herrera and David Camilleri filed the submissions.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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