Transgender Marriage Laws
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What Are Transgender Marriage Laws?
Before the landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, transgender individuals faced various legal issues when marrying. Transgender individuals could often enter into heterosexual marriages (i.e. a transgender man and a woman) but would often also be allowed to enter into (or stay in) same-sex marriages (for example, when one partner within a heterosexual marriage transitioned during the marriage).
Transgender individuals have a different gender identity (and/or express their gender differently) from the sex that they were assigned on their birth certificate. Transgender individuals may or may not decide to take hormones or to undergo surgery to transition to their true identity. As part of their transition process, some transgender individuals change their name and, in some states, may legally amend their gender on birth certificates and driver’s licenses.
Before same-sex marriage equality, transgender marriages could be impacted by:
- Restrictions on acknowledgement of a person’s current gender on official documents
- Bans on forming a “same-sex” marriage. For example, this could affect a transgender woman not allowed to marry a man in a state that did not recognize gender changes and treated her as a man. However this type of ban could also affect a transgender woman not allowed to marry a woman in a state that did recognize gender changes and treated her as a woman. Some states carved out exceptions to their bans on same-sex marriage to deal with this issue.
- Potential nullification of existing marriages between a man and a woman if one partner underwent transition prior to or during the marriage
Because marriage between two adults in the U.S. no longer requires that either individual be any particular sex or hold any particular sexual orientation, transgender individuals should no longer have to show that they are one gender or another to marry.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Transgender men and women are now allowed to marry any partner in all 50 U.S. states. However, marriage is a legal relationship, and any marriage should involve thorough planning and consideration of both partners’ rights and responsibilities. It may be wise to consult with a family law attorney when beginning a life together.
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Last Modified: 10-20-2015 11:49 AM PDT
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