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Marriage Rules in Finland Fair for Transsexuals: ECHR

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on July 17, 2014 at 5:27 PM
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 Marriage Rules in Finland Fair for Transsexuals: ECHR

The Case of a transsexual from Finland was rejected by Europe's rights court on Wednesday, who said she was being compelled to convert her marriage to a civil partnership to be recognized as a woman.

The woman, who underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2009, had complained that Finnish authorities had refused to recognize her as a woman on official documentation until she changed her marriage status.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was "not disproportionate to require the conversion of a marriage into a registered partnership as a precondition to legal recognition of an acquired gender".

Judges at the Strasbourg-based court said civil partnerships in Finland offer legal protection for same-sex couples "almost identical to that of marriage."

They also said that changing the relationship status would not affect the paternity of a daughter born to the couple, or the responsibility either of them has for her care.

Heli Hamalainen, who brought the case, was born male in 1963 and married a woman in 1996. They had a child in 2002, and seven years later, he underwent surgery to become a woman.

Afterwards, however, local authorities refused to modify Hamalainen's identity number to indicate her female gender in official documents unless her wife agreed to convert the marriage into a civil partnership.

The couple objected, saying divorce went against their religious beliefs and offered less security than a marriage.

Hamalainen had brought proceedings against the decision in Finland before taking the case to the ECHR.

However, the court decided there had not been a breach of the right to respect for private and family life in this case, nor had their been any discrimination against the couple because of Hamalainen's change of gender.

Source: AFP

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