Justice Minister Chris Grayling invites trans groups to share their views on spousal veto

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The Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling, has invited trans groups to write to him with testimony surrounding the spousal veto included in the same-sex marriage legislation for England and Wales.

The spousal veto as part of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, which came into effect on 29 March 2014, means transgender people in England and Wales must obtain written consent from their spouse before being able to get legal recognition of their gender.

Following a meeting with Tory MP Mike Freer, Mr Grayling said he had sympathy for trans people on the issue of the spousal veto, and invited groups representing the trans community to write to him about with their views.

A statement from Mr Freer’s office read: “The Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, has expressed his sympathy for the issues raised. As part of a wider review of marriage legislation, the Secretary of State has agreed to receive representations from the trans community on the issue of the Spousal Veto. Groups representing the community should make their views known.”

It is understood that changes can still be made to wider legislation regarding marriage as part of a “tidying up” act of marriage legislation.

Speaking to PinkNews, Mr Freer said: “I welcome the Ministry of Justice’s commitment to listening to the trans community on the issue of the ‘spousal veto’. Whilst no promises have been made, the openness of Chris Grayling to looking at the issue is definitely refreshing.”

Of the 10 countries in Europe with equal marriage only England & Wales has a spousal veto on gender recognition.

Scotland in January voted to remove the spousal veto from its same-sex marriage bill, which will take effect later in 2014. 

As secondary same-sex marriage legislation passed in the House of Lords earlier this year, Baroness Liz Barker tweeted that the Lib Dems had promised to monitor the spousal veto.