The Attorney General has filed an appeal from a court sentence which had granted Joanne Cassar 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 However, in May 2008, the decision was revoked on appeal.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.

“I fought for the principle. When I opened the case I was engaged and had everything planned to get married. I can say this problem disrupted my life, Ms Cassar said later.

Ms Cassar had expressed her joy after the judgement:

“When I heard the judge read out the judgment I couldn’t believe it... I wanted to phone everyone I knew... I started from my mother and father,” Ms Cassar said with a surprising look of sadness in her eyes. “All this forces me to remember the hardships I had to endure to achieve what is mine by right,” the 29-year-old said.

Her wedding had been planned for December 2007. The stress of the court battle, coupled with the publicity, piled pressure on the couple’s relationship and they are no longer together.

Ms Cassar had expressed fears that an appeal would be filed, adding: “I’ve been through the experience”.

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