A BILL to end the requirement for married couples to divorce when one half undergoes gender transition has been introduced in both the upper and lower houses of NSW Parliament this morning, with South Australia and Tasmania set to follow suit with similar bills today.

The draft bill in NSW seeks to amend the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 so as to allow married persons to apply to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages to alter the record of their sex and to register a change of sex, and to make those changes without the need to divorce their spouse.

Otherwise known as the “forced trans* divorce” bill, it was introduced in the Legislative Council by upper house Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi and in the Legislative Council by Sydney state independent MP Alex Greenwich.

“We should not force a couple in a loving and supportive relationship to choose between divorce and an accurate birth certificate. This is heartless and unnecessary,” Greenwich said.

“In addition to ending forced trans* divorce, we need wider trans* law reform that respects the different journey’s people transitioning gender go through.

“The law unfairly limits those who can gain new birth certificates to those who have had surgery. This fails to include the vast array of transitions that can occur without surgery and I will work with the trans* community and my colleagues towards fixing this.”

Their bill will now be debated at a later date before it can come into effect.

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Both South Australia and Tasmania are also set to introduce similar forced divorce trans* bills in their parliaments today, by Greens MPs Tammy Franks and Nick McKim respectively.

“Although the Marriage Act says partners entering a marriage must be of different genders, there is nothing in that Act which requires states to terminate marriages because one partner changes their gender,” Delaney said.

Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome has urged other states to repeal laws forcing couples to divorce if one partner sought legal recognition of their gender reassignment.

Meanwhile, NSW’s forced trans* divorce bill is also the first in what is touted as a “historic day” for NSW Parliament, with the lower house later today scheduled to debate proposed legislation by Coogee state Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith to extinguish historical consensual gay sex convictions.

If it passes, NSW would become the second jurisdiction in Australia to allow affected men to apply to eliminate their consensual gay sex convictions from the time when it was illegal up until 1984.

Victoria was the first state to do so, passing the legislation on Tuesday night.

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