Cassar v. Malta: third party intervention before the European Court

Europe and Central Asia
Issue: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Document Type: Legal Submission
Date: 2012

Joanne Cassar, who was assigned male at birth, legally changed her birth certificate to female in full compliance with Maltese national law. However, she was denied permission to marry her boyfriend.

The courts upheld the Director of the Public Registry’s decision, ruling that the change to her birth certificate did not entitle Cassar to consider herself female for the purposes of marriage. In so doing, Malta refused to apply the holding of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Christine Goodwin v. United Kingdom. Cassar then applied to the European Court, arguing that Malta had violated her rights.

The ICJ, Interights and Transgender Europe submitted a joint third party intervention arguing that individuals are protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and that states are legally required to ensure the right to marry in the preferred gender.

Cassar_v_Malta_Third_Party_Intervention-legal submission-2012-eng (text in PDF)

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