Marriage Equality Welcomes Commitment to Gender Recognition Legislation

7 Sep 2012

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Today Marriage Equality welcomed a commitment by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to closely examine the issue of gender recognition for transgender people this autumn. The minister was speaking at the opening of the 4th European Transgender Council in Dublin, hosted by the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

Speaking from today's launch, Marriage Equality Director Moninne Griffith welcomed the minister's comments, but expressed reservations: "Although we are delighted to hear that Minister Burton intends to closely examine the issue of gender recognition, the proposed Gender Recognition Scheme published in July last year excludes candidates who are married or in a civil partnership. This means that transgender individuals in loving marriages, civil partnerships and families could be forced to make the agonising choice between having their true gender recognised, or their relationship."

"For these individuals, official recognition of their true gender will mean separation, divorce, and splitting up families. No one should ever have to make that choice. We are calling on the Government to begin the Constitutional Convention without delay, so that the issue of marriage equality can be addressed, and same sex couples and families can be protected equally under the law."

Marriage Equality have worked with TENI to highlight the ways in which allowing same sex couples access to civil marriage would benefit couples and families in Ireland. TENI had previously argued that the proposed Gender Recognition Scheme was contrary to a recent Council of Europe report dealing with gender recognition that encourages the separation of marriage from the legal recognition process.

"We have seen such amazing progress in the past few years on the issue of marriage equality," added Ms Griffith. "In the case of transgender people, it is more important than ever that the marriage ban for same sex couples is removed without delay. In modern Ireland, with 73% of the public in support of marriage equality, no one should be forced to choose between having their true gender recognised, and their family."