SA moves to end forced divorce for trans people
Marriage equality advocates are commending South Australian government for moving to end forced divorces of transgender people after the Senate tabled legislation.
Advocates are now urging the other states to repeal the laws forcing couples to divorce if one partner seeks legal recognition of their gender reassignment.
In moving for the change in legislation, South Australian Greens Upper House member, Tammy Franks read from a letter from a transgender woman who had been married to her partner for the past twenty years – the past several as a transgender woman.
She (my wife) has adapted to my changes remarkably well, as have our four children, who are quite happy with their new Mada,” the letter read.
“But, to complete this journey, and be recognised as the woman I have become, the government tells me I must destroy this happy marriage of 20 years, and break up my family, which is not going to happen
Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, described the current laws as cruel to transgender people and their partners.,
"These laws are cruel to transgender Australians and their partners, and demeaning of the solemn marriage vows these couples have made," Croome said.
"Being married is something which can sustain a relationship through the gender reassignment of one of the partners, yet here we have the government forcing an end to that marriage."
"All those MPs who have expressed support for marriage as an institution should support the removal of these laws because it is about keeping married couples together."
Croome urged South Australian MPs to take the lead and support the new legislation.
Croome said there should be no constitutional obstacles to amending state laws to end forced divorce because the Marriage Act only regulates who goes in to a marriage and is silent on gender reassignment.
Last year Independent MP Alex Greenwich and Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi announced plans to work on a draft legislation to put an end to forced divorce for trans people in NSW.