Independent Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich has joined forces with the Greens to push for reforms to the NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 to end so-called forced divorces for trans people.
Currently, NSW law requires married people undergoing a gender transition to divorce their spouses before they can be granted legal recognition of their new gender.
In a joint statement, Mr Greenwich and Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi said they would work together to draft amendments to overturn the provisions of the Act.
At the same time, they would also seek to amend the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, to widen its scope and include protections for the intersex community, they announced.
“The trans and intersex communities currently have to deal with unnecessary, cruel, and outdated discrimination in NSW legislation and we will work hard to end this,” said Mr Greenwich.
Dr Faruqi said: “It is unacceptable that relationships and families can be torn apart so callously by discrimination ingrained in NSW law. It is time the law fully recognises and protects our trans and intersex communities.”
Mr Greenwich and Ms Faruqi said trans and intersex protections were an issue in their own right and should be handled separately to any proposed state-based same-sex marriage bills.
In related news, Mr Greenwich has weighed in to the growing debate over GLBTI rights in Russia, calling on Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr to raise the matter with Russian authorities.
In a letter to Mr Carr last week, Mr Greenwich wrote: “I write to ask for your action to publicly oppose draconian homophobic laws introduced in Russia … I believe Australia should express clear and public opposition against these laws and put pressure on the [Russian Government] to withdraw them.”
Mr Greenwich urged Mr Carr to raise the matter with the Russian Ambassador to Australia immediately and at the G20 Leader’s Summit in St Petersburg next month.
The anti-gay legislation, signed into effect by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, has outlawed the public expression of GLBTI identity and affection, and prohibited the advocacy of GLBTI rights, among other measures.