I was initially originally going to file this under “CDotD”, but it’s not so much crazy as it is of notable interest. Last night I had the news on (in English) for background and a story about a legal battle between a transgendered woman and the government came up.
Basically, the plaintiff was born a male, and had undergone surgery to change his sex to female over the past 5 years. She now wishes to marry her boyfriend, but has been blocked, under the law against same-sex marriage. She has had official documents certifying her sex change, where the HK government even issued her a new resident ID indicating her new gender, but her birth certificate could not be altered.
Of course the irony is that she could marry another woman under this interpretation – and yes, I really wish someone would test that one!
Anyway, what struck me most were some of the arguments put forward by the Queen’s counsel, concerning reproduction. I couldn’t quite catch what law she was citing on the news clip, but heard something about the fact that the plaintiff had no female sex organs, and hence be unable to reproduce with her boyfriend, therefore was grounds to ban the marriage. Huh?? Since when was reproduction a necessary outcome of marriage? (Or heck, even the reverse?)
Anyway, I tried to do some research on this news piece today, and couldn’t come up with any particularly detailed articles. Here’s the AP’s article, and here’s one from Xinhuanet, a major news site based in China.
From what I can glean from these articles, the HK Marriage Ordinance only permits marriage between a man and woman — a common point argued in the gay marriage arena. At the same time, the Basic Law, HK’s version of its Constitution, states “The freedom of marriage of Hong Kong residents and their right to raise a family freely, shall be protected by law.”
I agree with the plaintiff’s counsel that this is purely a matter of interpreting the law, and not legislating, as Queen’s counsel suggests, and that the plaintiff, for all intents and purposes is indeed a woman, whose freedom of marriage is being thwarted!
Apparently Queens’ counsel also suggested that allowing this marriage would have far-reaching impacts on children and inheritance. Huh? I just don’t get it. I mean, here is indeed a man and woman getting married, just that the woman used to be a man but isn’t anymore and never will be one.
I suppose I’m not that surprised that this case has turned up, and I’m not that surprised by Queen’s counsel’s arguments (I mean, what choice does she have?). But I’m definitely going to keep my ears alert for the decision. I’d be surprised if HK does not permit the marriage and lags behind its neighbors Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and even mainland China!
I’ll post the decision when its reached.