By Chelsea M. Hillman, Esq.
The simple answer is, being transgender does not affect your right to get married. The United States Supreme Court Case, Obergefell v. Hodges requires all states to license and recognize same-sex marriage. Your biological sex assigned at birth cannot affect your ability to marry. However, there are some steps you should consider taking when heading for a marriage.
Transitioning is a long process, and some transpersons do not desire a full transition. Gender is not defined by what’s between your legs. However, because there are varying levels of understanding when it comes to transpersons and transitioning, it’s best to protect yourself as much as possible. Before marriage, you and your intended spouse enter into a Memorandum of Understanding, which explicitly states that the cisgender spouse is aware you are transgender or undergoing transition. The Memorandum can protect you from a voidable marriage if anyone were to allege fraud or deceit regarding your gender identity. By signing a Memorandum of Understanding, your soon-to-be-spouse is recognizing you in your entirety and memorializing their respect and love for you.
In addition to the Memorandum of Understanding, it is strongly recommended you and your cisgender spouse create advanced healthcare directives. An advanced healthcare directive establishes what medical providers are to do in the event you are unconscious, unresponsive, or in a vegetative state and in need of medical treatment. An advanced healthcare directive addresses how difficult medical decisions are to be handled and removes the chance for misunderstandings or confusion by healthcare personnel.
Marriage requires a lot of planning, and if you are transgender we encourage you to get a court order gender change and amend your birth certificate to reflect your gender identity prior to signing the marriage license. If you are wanting to change your name, we suggest doing so with the assistance of the courts.
We understand that transition can be both an exciting and frightening time. In addition to all of the physical changes your body undergoes, there is the fear and misunderstanding you can face inside and outside the home. Therefore, it is understandable that you may be reluctant to go into court and speak in front of a judge about your identity. However, not completing the necessary paperwork could potentially deny you and your spouse from marriage-related benefits with the government or even your state. It is extremely important you protect your cisgender spouse just as it is important for you to protect yourself. Schedule out your legal document changes and as with any legal matter, it is best to consult with an attorney to help you through this process.
Marriage is a beautiful union between two persons. For all of the lawyers at Modern Family Law, it is important to us that people are educated on all of the nuances and challenges we have seen transgender persons face. Marriage is a special bond between you and your partner, and Modern Family Law can help you prepare for, protect and nurture your marital relationship. Then, on the big day when you both say “I do,” you will only be thinking about the one thing which really matters, each other.
Share this Post