Transsexual can appeal against marriage ban

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2012, 12:00am


A transsexual woman who lost a landmark battle for the right to marry her boyfriend was yesterday granted leave to take her case to the top court.

The Court of Appeal gave the woman, identified only as 'W', permission to lodge a final appeal because the case raised points of great general or public importance.

The woman, 36, lost a judicial review and an appeal in November.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the Registrar of Marriages had neither erred nor acted unconstitutionally in blocking the marriage, even though the woman was described as female on her identity card.

'W' was born male, underwent surgery to become female and had her identity card changed to reflect her gender. But the Registrar of Marriages insisted only a person's gender at birth counts for the purposes of marriage, and that a union between people of the same biological sex cannot be celebrated.

The Court of Final Appeal will determine whether the words 'woman' and 'female' in sections of the Marriage Ordinance include a person who is a post-operative male-to-female transsexual.

And if it does not include a transsexual, it will rule whether the ordinance is unconstitutional and infringes on W's right to marry as guaranteed by the Basic Law and her right to privacy under the Hong Kong Bill of Rights.

It was heard in the lower court that W considered herself female from an early age. In 2008 a doctor issued a letter certifying she had undergone male-to-female transsexual surgery. She then changed her name and gender on her ID card and had her school records changed to reflect her gender.