‘Spousal veto’ to be scrutinised by new equalities committee

Supporters of same sex marriage carry banners and shout slogans as they gather on a street in Sydney on August 6, 2017. Australia's Liberal Party, the senior partner in the ruling coalition, is set to debate its same-sex marriage policy on August 7 amid tensions between conservative and moderate elements over whether to dump a policy of holding a plebiscite on the issue in favour of other options, despite strong popular support for marriage equality. / AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

A new Women and Equalities Committee is to look at the ‘spousal veto’, which affects married transgender people.

Following sustained campaigning from a cross-party group of MPs, the Government last month agreed to form a Women and Equalities Select Committee in Parliament for the first time.

Former culture secretary Maria Miller was later announced as the chair of the committee.

She described transgender issues as “emerging”.

According to the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act, which legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales last year, the spouse of someone who wants to legally change their gender with a gender recognition certificate must give permission for the marriage to continue.

The Government has defended the legislation, but it has come under heavy criticism from LGBT rights advocates.

“While there are some pieces of legislation, I’m not sure how effective it is,” said Ms Miller. “Some of this legislation around gaining permission to change gender is something the committee would want to look at.”

The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee voted unanimously last January to remove the veto from the Scottish law.