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Italy high court to review law on transgender marriage rights

National interest

Italy high court to review law on transgender marriage rights

Italy's Constitutional court ruled Wednesday that an Italian law that annuls a marriage once a partner undergoes a sex change operation is against the national interest because the couple may desire to stay together. Wednesday's ruling overturns a judgment from a lower court in Bologna in the case of 43-year-old Alessandra Bernaroli [Ansa News report], who underwent surgery in 2009 to become a female, four years after getting married as a man. Bernaroli's marriage was automatically dissolved by national law after the transgender operation. The case will now reach Italy's highest court, La Consulta, where a favorable ruling for Bernaroli could make her and her female partner the first same-sex couple in Italy.

The rights and identity of transgender individuals is a topic of legal debate around the world. Last month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio mandated [JURIST report] the permanent reinstatement of hormone treatments for a transgender Ohio prison inmate who complained about losing her breast tissue, growing facial hair, and suffering other related symptoms after treatments were stopped. In April the Supreme Court of India issued a ruling [JURIST report] recognizing the country's large transgender population as a legal third gender. In so ruling, the court ordered that the government ensure that transgender people are not discriminated against and are eligible for government jobs and education in the same way as it does with other minority groups. It also ordered that the government take steps to promote awareness and to ensure that they are provided with proper medical treatment and public facilities. In February Amnesty International [advocacy website] argued [JURIST report] that European countries are violating the human rights of people trying to change their legal gender and discriminating against transgender individuals in a report [text, PDF] entitled "The State Decides Who I Am."

(Published by Jurist - July 13, 2014)

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