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Joanne Cassar loses transsexual marriage case

Joanne Cassar this morning 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.

The case goes back to September 2006 when Ms Cassar and her then partner applied for marriage banns. The Marriage Registrar refused to issue the banns even though Ms Cassar had legally changed her gender to female on her birth certificate after the surgery.

In February 2007, Ms Cassar won a civil case in which the court ordered the Marriage Registrar to issue the wedding banns he had previously refused to issue. However, in May 2008, the decision was revoked on appeal.

The court ruled Ms Cassar would never be considered to be a “woman” according to the Marriage Act and declared the change in her birth certificate, allowing a change of name and gender, was only intended to protect the right to privacy and to avoid embarrassment.

Determined to fight for her right to marry, she opened a case in the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction, claiming a breach of human rights. She won the case last month.

However the decision was again overturned on appeal this morning. The Court argued that the Marriage Registrar was correct in the interpretation of the law and the law did not not provide for circumstances such as those of Ms Cassar's. 

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