The Irish Government is planning to allow transsexuals to marry partners of the same sex.
This would mean that a man, if he underwent sex-change surgery to look like a woman, would be legally entitled to marry another man.
Ireland’s Minister for Social Protection, Éamon Ó’Cuiv, has confirmed that the Irish Government is committed to introducing “legal recognition of the acquired gender of transsexuals” through the Renewed Programme for Government announced in 2009.
However, the news is likely to alarm family values campaigners who warn that gender dysphoria is a psychological problem, not a physical one.
Mr Ó’Cuiv’s comments came in response to a parliamentary question, and he added that an interdepartmental committee was being set up to advise him on what the new legislation should include.
Mr Ó’Cuiv added that establishing a process for legally recognising transsexuals who had “made the transition from one gender to another”, the establishment of a sex recognition register, the granting of entitlement to marry in the legally recognised reassigned sex, and other provisions “as may be deemed necessary consequent on the main provisions of the Bill” would be included.
The interdepartmental committee is expected to invite submissions from interested groups, experts and the general public.
In the UK, the Gender Recognition Act was passed in 2004.
It allows a biologically normal man to become a woman in law and vice versa. This means a man can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate and then obtain a new birth certificate stating he was born a woman.
Under the Act a man can become a woman “for all purposes” in law. He could then legally marry another man, because in law the couple would be of opposite sexes.
But many transsexuals go on to regret their decision to live in the opposite sex.
A Home Office report on transsexualism, released in April 2000, said: “Many people revert to their biological sex after living for some time in the opposite sex”.
And in 2002 doctors from the NHS Portman Clinic – an internationally acclaimed centre – stated that after surgery, “what many patients find is that they are left with a mutilated body, but the internal conflicts remain”.
In 2007 a leading psychiatrist for gender dysphoria, Dr Russell Reid, was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council (GMC).
The tribunal concluded that the doctor had acted inappropriately and not in the best interests of his patients after complaints that he had rushed five patients into hormone treatment and sex change surgery without properly assessing them.