3.4.2013; Update 2
Minister Helena Dalli and Joanne Cassar
Joanne Cassar, a 31-year-old hairdresser who underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman, will be granted the right to marry. The announcement was made by Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli in the wake of the out of court settlement reached with Ms Cassar in recent days.
In 2011, Ms Cassar had instituted proceedings against government in the European Court of Human Rights, claiming breach of human rights.
Addressing a news conference in the presence of Ms Cassar and Attorney General Peter Grech, the civil liberties minister emphasised that this settlement marks a clear change in government’s policy about transgender issues.
She added that the necessary amendments to the Marriages Act will be tabled
in parliament, in two weeks time, immediately after the budget vote. It was also announced that Ms Cassar will receive financial compensation to cover the legal expenses she had to incur. Dr Dalli remarked that the real challenge from now will be to change the mentality and eradicate any form of discrimination.
In a brief comment to the media, Ms Cassar expressed her joy that she was finally vindicated. She said that the fact that court proceedings had to be instituted against Malta, made her feel that she was not truly welcome as a Maltese citizen. However now that the case is closed she can finally feel a truly Maltese citizen.
Asked whether this settlement will pave the way for same sax marriages, the civil liberties minister replied that government has promised to legislate in favour of civil unions. As a matter of fact a consultative committee is to be set up shortly to establish the way forward.
In a statement, the Malta Gay Rights Movement and aditus foundation welcomed the Maltese Government's decision to drop its objection to Joanne Cassar's claim to the right to marry.
They also welcomed the Government's pledge to promptly enact the required changes to the Civil Code to ensure recognition of transgender persons as persons of the acquired sex for all intents and purposes, including marriage.