In response to a threatened legal action, the city of New York has adopted a new policy to ensure that transgender people have equal access to marriage licenses.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed the complaint in October with help from the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP on behalf of an anonymous opposite-sex couple identified as Jane and John, who are both transgender. When they tried to marry in 2009 in the Bronx, the city clerk demanded that each produce their birth certificates, something not asked of other marriage license applicants.
TLDEF announced the new city policy and victory in a news release Tuesday morning.
"Under the terms of the new policy, issued on Feb. 7, 2011, once a marriage license applicant produces the required photo ID, the City Clerk may not request additional proof of sex," said the organization. "Moreover, City Clerk employees are forbidden from considering the applicant's appearance or preconceived notions related to gender expression when deciding whether to issue a marriage license."
The agreement also calls for the city clerk to apologize to Jane and John, to institute gender identity and expression training for employees, and to allow the couple to marry at a time and place of their choosing.
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