A transgender woman in Malta is heading towards a court victory for the right to marry in the small Mediterranean islands country. It could be a watershed case in Malta for LGBT rights, activists told 429Magazine on Wednesday.
“This is exciting for all of us in Europe because for the European Union to proceed, we have to have better rights for all our citizens,” said one European Union government official in Brussels.
31-year-old Joanne Cassar, a hairdresser, had begun legal action in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) two years ago after she had been barred from getting married in Malta.
While the case has not been officially decided, and is still in proceedings in Strasbourg, the Malta government, in an apparent move ahead of any ruling in favor of Cassar, withdrew its objections to her getting married.
In a statement published on Wednesday, Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) and the Aditus Foundation said: “The right of transgender persons to marry was firmly established in a preceding case dating back to 2002 – Christine Goodwin vs. the United Kingdom – where the ECHR held that it ‘finds no justification for barring the transsexual from enjoying the right to marry under any circumstances.
“We also welcome the (Malta) government’s pledge to promptly enact the required changes to the Civil Code to ensure recognition of transgender persons as persons of the acquired sex for all intents and purposes, including marriage.”
The statement continued: “In addition we reiterate the need for a comprehensive Gender Identity Bill, as proposed by MGRM in 2010 – that would facilitate the gender recognition of transgender persons and safeguard their fundamental human rights, including the right to respect for privacy and family life as established in Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.”