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Greens upper house MP Mehreen Faruqi

in AUSTRALIA, 09/03/2014

MEMBERS of NSW Parliament will give notice to today of a bill to be introduced seeking to remove the legal requirement for a trans* person to divorce their spouse before they can change their gender on the Births, Deaths and Marriages register.

The current law does not allow a married person to legally change their gender, forcing a married trans* person to choose between divorce or having their birth certificate accurately reflect their gender. As well as promoting stigma against trans* people, an incorrect birth certificate can create problems for people accessing services and benefits, and in the workplace. The bill will be introduced by Sydney state independent MP Alex Greenwich and Greens upper house MP Mehreen Faruqi.

“These offensive provisions have remained in our law for far too long, and for no good reason. No loving couple should be forced to choose between divorce and a birth certificate that displays an incorrect sex of one partner. Unfortunately, that’s what currently happens in NSW,” Faruqi said.

A joint statement by Faruqi and Greenwich explicitly said the bill would not legalise same-sex marriage, and called on NSW parliamentarians to support it.
“This constitutionally valid bill is about love and keeping couples together under the law. I know many NSW MPs believe in the importance of marriage, and I hope their respect for the institution extends to protecting these loving marriages,” Greenwich said.

Many LGBTI rights advocates have acknowledged this problem would be better solved by the passage of federal marriage equality legislation, but the bill would allow this specific issue to be addressed in the interim.

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