HL Deb 10 February 2004 vol 656 cc146-7WA
Baroness Howe of Idlicote

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What, if any, are the implications, legal or otherwise, of a transsexual moving from a married relationship to a civil partnership with the same person. [HL1004]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin)

If the Government's proposed legislation on same-sex civil partnerships is enacted, couples who have ended their marriage to allow one partner to gain legal recognition in the acquired gender will be able to register a civil partnership and hence regain a legal status for their relationship.

The Government are sensitive to the difficult financial and practical choices that may be faced by married transsexual people who wish to end their marriage and enter a civil partnership. We are determined to make the transition process between the end of a marriage and start of a civil partnership as quick and orderly as possible. Indeed, we believe it will be possible to dissolve a marriage and begin a civil partnership on the same day.

Should there be a gap, as is likely, between the implementation date of the Gender Recognition Bill and future legislation on civil partnership, then transsexual people will be able to decide whether to delay an application for a full gender recognition certificate until it is possible to move from a marriage to a civil partnership. To assist applicants under the fast-track process, it will now operate for two years from implementation enabling applications to be delayed until arrangements are in place for civil partnerships.

Lord Tebbit

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they regard the marriage of two persons each of whom is capable of giving birth to children as being a same-sex relationship. [HL1009]

Lord Filkin

No. The Government are clear that marriage can only take place between two people of the opposite gender in law. The Gender Recognition Bill will enable transsexual people who have gained legal recognition in their acquired gender to marry someone of the opposite legal gender. Such marriages will not be same-sex marriages.

Before gaining legal recognition in their acquired gender, transsexual people will be required to provide the Gender Recognition Panel with evidence supporting a diagnosis of the medical condition, gender dysphoria. They must also convince the panel that they are living fully and permanently in their acquired gender.