Sunday, 29 May 2011

Independent: Transsexual's marriage case to be taken to ECHR

Joanne Cassar, a post-op transgender, lost her case before the Constitutional Court denying her the right to marry, but her legal battle will not stop there, as her lawyers intend to take her plight before the European Court of Human Rights.

She lost the appeal filed by the Attorney General, from a court sentence which had granted her the right to marry a man after her gender reassignment surgery.

In the judgement handed down by Mr Justice Geoffrey Valenzia, Mr Justice Giannino Caruana Demajo and Mr Justice Tonio Mallia, the court decided that the banns should not be issued, and urged parliament to address this anomaly because Maltese laws do not provide for people who are in the same situation as Ms Cassar, denying them the fundamental right to marry. The same court agreed that Ms Cassar should be recognised as a woman as it is stipulated on her birth certificate.

Her case goes back to September 2006 when after her gender reassignment surgery, she and her partner filed an application with the Marriages Registrar to issue the banns. Ms Cassar had already legally changed her gender to female on her birth certificate.

Meanwhile, in February 2007, Ms Cassar won the legal battle in the Civil Court, ordering the Public Registry to issue the marriage banns, however this decision was revoked after the Attorney General filed the appeal in May 2008.

The Court had decided that Ms Cassar can never be considered a woman according to the Marriages Act and that the change in the birth certificate was done to protect her privacy and prevent embarrassment.

Eventually she lost the appeal case before the Constitutional Court despite that most of her claims were upheld. The court decided that the Marriage Registrar interpreted the law correctly.

Lawyers Josè Herrera and David Camilleri assisted Ms Cassar.

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