New gender recognition rules to begin on 10 December

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

The gender recognition provisions of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act come into force on December 10th in England and Wales.

This changes the way people who are married or in civil partnerships can receive Gender Recognition Certificates (GRCs). It means that trans people are no longer required to end their marriages before receiving a new birth certificate and the legal protections granted by a GRC.

However, the new laws include the so-called “spousal veto” that has angered trans campaigners.

Under the new rules, trans people must gain permission from their spouse to receive a GRC. If the spouse does not agree, the trans person must then seek a divorce in order to have their gender officially recognised by the government.

Since the spouse is under no obligation to grant the divorce, an estranged spouse could potentially refuse to grant permission for a GRC, and refuse to allow a divorce. This would mean the trans person would be blocked by their spouse from receiving a GRC and its legal protections.

The “spousal veto” does not apply in Scotland, and last week it was reveled it would not be law in Jersey as well.