Press release: 26 November 2014

Trans* Jersey welcomes the Chief Minister’s report on equal marriage, especially its handling of the particular trans issue of the spousal veto.

Trans* Jersey met with Chief Minister, Ian Gorst, to discuss the findings of the consultation into the question of whether it is appropriate to introduce legislation to equalise marriage in Jersey. The resulting report is a significant document that has been compiled with consideration of both sides of the argument for and against equal marriage and, as such, is welcomed by Trans* Jersey.

Trans* Jersey’s founder, Vic Tanner Davy, said: “We are impressed by the work done by the Chief Minister and his department in addressing all aspects of the issue thoroughly and with great understanding.”

trans couple 2The report also addresses the issue of the so-called “spousal veto” that exists within the same-sex marriage law of England and Wales, but not the equivalent Scottish law.

Vic Tanner Davy again: “The spousal veto is a nasty piece of legislation that demands a trans person in a marriage asks permission of their spouse before applying for their gender recognition certificate, which makes them for all legal purposes their affirmed gender. This inclusion in the England and Wales law spoke to the concerns of some MPs that the non-trans party to an opposite-sex marriage would be forced into a same-sex marriage because of their spouse’s legal transition.

“In reality, a person’s transition does not happen overnight. It takes at least two years of living as your affirmed gender before you can apply for a gender recognition certificate in the UK. During those two years, a trans person will have undergone gender therapy, most likely started hormone therapy and may have had gender reassignment surgery. If their spouse is still with them at the point that the trans partner applies for their gender recognition certificate, they will already be aware that they are living in a marriage that, to the outsider, has changed.

“Transitioning is difficult and stressful at times as every trans person endeavours to maintain partnerships and family relationships intact throughout the process. The last thing they need is added pressure from the state intervening in what is a private matter between the two people who are party to the union. We are, therefore, delighted that the Chief Minister has taken this into consideration and will be proposing the Scottish model for dealing with the issue. This will enable marriages to change seamlessly between same-sex and opposite-sex with no requirement for divorce and re-marriage or for spousal permission when one party to a marriage transitions.”

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