Joanne Cassar, who underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman and was denied the right to marry because of a lacuna in the law, has taken the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg demanding compensation.

The 29-year-old had won the right to marry but this was overturned on appeal last week when a judge ruled that, although she had her human rights breached, the problem was in the law and she could not marry.

Ms Cassar’s legal saga started in 2006 when the Marriage Registrar refused to issue marriage banns although her birth certificate had been changed to indicate she was now a woman.

The appeals court ruled there was a lacuna in the law that did not allow people to enter into any form of life partnership after undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

In the appeal to the European Court yesterday, Ms Cassar asked for a declaration that the Director of Public Registry could not refuse to issue the marriage banns just because she underwent gender reassignment surgery.

She also said that taking into consideration the fact that the case took seven years to conclude, there was a breach of human rights and since she was not granted a legal remedy or compensation in that regard, she called for compensation and a remedy to the situation.

Ms Cassar had undergone surgery in the UK when she was 22 after being diagnosed with gender identity disorder, a conflict between a person’s physical or apparent gender and that person’s self-identification.

Lawyers Josè Herrera and David Camilleri are representing Ms Cassar.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us