Victoria is set to join Queensland in becoming one of the first states to end forced divorce for trans people under marriage equality.

The state government is moving to eliminate the requirement in Victoria’s birth certificate laws that people correcting their gender must be unmarried.

“This is a welcome change that means trans and gender diverse people will be free to live as their true selves, while remaining committed to the person they fell in love with,” said Anna Brown, director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre.

“It isn’t fair that some trans and gender diverse people are still waiting for full marriage equality. The community has shown their support for marriage equality, it’s time our laws did as well. All governments must reform our outdated birth certificate laws so trans and gender diverse people can live with dignity.”

Brenda Appleton, chair of Transgender Victoria, said the change will be extremely meaningful for married trans people.

“We welcome this important reform that—if passed—will mean that trans and gender diverse Victorians will no longer have to make an impossible choice between staying married to the person they love and being legally recognised as their true gender,” she said.

All states and territories were given 12 months to bring their laws into line with marriage equality from December last year.

Victoria is one of a number of states that currently also requires sterilising surgery before trans people can legally change their sex.

“We are disappointed that other unnecessary legal barriers remain for trans and gender diverse people changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, including surgery, age restrictions, and our laws should have more options for non-binary and gender diverse people,” said Appleton.

Victorian Senator Janet Rice said her wife Penny is currently prevented from changing her birth certificate due to being married.

“I’m so pleased that the Victorian government has introduced this legislation,” said Rice.

“Forcing trans people to divorce their partner before they can change their birth certificates is discriminatory.

“I urge other states to remove this discrimination so that we can have full marriage equality.”

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