Judgment brings relief for transgender marriages
Publish date: 11 September 2017
Issue Number: 742
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
A judgment in the Western Cape High Court has brought relief to transgender people whose gender could not be changed by the department or who were advised to divorce and remarry, according to a TimesLIVE report. The case centred on three women and their spouses. In two cases the Department of Home had refused to change their gender description. In another, the department had deleted the marriage of ‘Petronella’ in order to register the change in gender in the population register. The department had argued that the amendments to the register could not be made since the couples had been married in terms of the Marriages Act 25 of 1961‚ which applies to heterosexuals. Same-sex marriages are recognised under the Civil Union Act of 2006. The Legal Resources Centre took up the case after ‘Petronella’ and her spouse had their marriage deleted from the National Population Register‚ while two others were advised to get divorced in order to give effect to their gender rights. In its judgment the court ruled the Department of Home Affairs’ failure to deal with their applications to change their gender status was unlawful. It ordered the department to reinstate ‘Petronella’s’ marriage on the population register.