On Wednesday April 10, Tasmania's Lower House passed the Justice and Related Legislation (Marriage Amendments Bill) 2018. The law reform will make the Australian state that criminalised homosexual activity until 1997 and cross-dressing until 2000, a world leader in transgender rights.
Under the new legislation, transgender Tasmanians will no longer be forced to divorce or undergo sex reassignment surgery before legally changing their gender. Individuals will be able to remove a gender descriptor from their birth certificate, parents will be able to choose whether their child's gender will be recorded on the birth certificate and people from the age of 16 will be able to change their legal gender without parental permission. The parents of intersex children will have 120 days after the birth to register their child's birth.
Tasmanian anti-discrimination law has also been updated to protect the right of an individual to express their gender without discrimination.
The Liberal Government first bought the bill to parliament in October last year, in order to repeal the requirement that transgender people divorce before legally changing their gender. Labor and the Greens attached the extra amendments to the bill in November last year, which the Liberal Government fiercely opposed. The bill passed the lower house on April 10 after Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey crossed the floor.
The Tasmanian Coalition for Kids, which is backed by the Catholic Church and Binary Australia, the new version of the marriage equality NO campaign, fought strongly against the legislation, and want the Liberal Government to repeal it.
Premier Will Hodgman said in a statement that repealing the amendments may be an option.
"Because of the refusal by Labor and the Greens to consider the legal consequences of their amendments, it is highly likely the Parliament will need to fix up problems with the legislation, and (it might mean) repeal of the Labor-Green amendments at a later date," he said.
“The amended Justice and Related Legislation (Marriage Amendments) Bill 2018 is an historic achievement. These are nation leading reforms that will provide transgender Tasmanians and their families with recognition and respect under the law,” said Tasmanian Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor.
“All legal issues raised by the Liberal Government have been fully addressed in the Legislative Council’s amended Bill. For the Premier or Attorney General to state otherwise is simply misleading.”
”It is our sincerest hope this will be the end of the nasty disinformation campaign propagated by extreme groups and members of the Hodgman Government.”
Transgender activist and spokesperson for Transforming Tasmania, Martine Delaney, said: “This is a historic day for transgender and gender diverse people, not only in Tasmania but around the world.”
Transgender activist and spokesperson for Transforming Tasmania, Martine Delaney courtesy of Martine Delaney Facebook
“This legislation ranks among the most inclusive and equitable in the world.”
“I thank all those MPs and members of the community who have contributed to the enactment of these historic new laws.”
“Today I feel prouder to be a Tasmanian than I have ever felt before.”