India: HC upholds marriage between man, transwoman

In a significant judgement, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday held that the marriage solemnised between a man and a transwoman was valid and ordered its registration.

Taking into account the plight of inter-sex persons, the court directed the Health and Family Welfare department to issue an order prohibiting the performance of sex reassignment surgery on inter-sex infants and children. The court also directed the government to launch an awareness campaign in this regard.

Justice G. R. Swaminathan observed that the marriage solemnised between the couple was valid and the Registrar of Marriages was bound to register it. “By holding so, this court is not breaking any new ground. It is merely stating the obvious. Sometimes, to see the obvious, one needs not only physical vision in the eye but also love in the heart.”

The court was hearing the case of a couple from Thoothukudi who sought a direction to the Joint Registrar to register their marriage that was solemnised at a Hindu temple as per Hindu rights and customs.

The Village Administrative Officer had certified the marriage as performed and not bigamous. The temple authorities too permitted the marriage but declined to vouch for it. However, the Joint Registrar refused to register the marriage, which was challenged before the court. Read more via The Hindu