In a first, marriage between man, transwoman set to be registered

It was made possible through a High Court judgment

May 21, 2019 12:40 am | Updated 12:40 am IST - THOOTHUKUDI

THOOTHUKUDI,TAMIL NADU,31/10/2018: P. Srija, a transgender, and B. Arun Kumar, who got married at the Sivan Kovil on Wednesday. Photo : N. Rajesh

THOOTHUKUDI,TAMIL NADU,31/10/2018: P. Srija, a transgender, and B. Arun Kumar, who got married at the Sivan Kovil on Wednesday. Photo : N. Rajesh

In a first for Tamil Nadu, a marriage between a man and a transwoman is set to be made official, following a recent order by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court upholding their marriage.

The couple — A. Srija, 20 and B. Arun Kumar, 23 — who got married last October at Sri Sankara Rameswarar temple in accordance with Hindu customs, approached the District Registrar Office on Monday to get their marriage registered, and are likely to receive their marriage certificate soon.

Following their wedding, the couple had to overcome legal and bureaucratic hurdles to get it registered, as the Sub-Registrar refused to issue a marriage certificate, citing lack of provisions in existing norms to formalise a cis-transgender marriage.

Self-determination

They then approached the High Court, which passed a significant judgment on April 22 upholding their marriage.

It stated that discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation impairs equality before law, and held that the expression ‘bride’ under the Hindu Marriage Act would also include transwomen. When the gender identity is chosen to be expressed as that of a woman, it is not for the State authorities to question this self-determination, the court had said.

Earlier, Mr. Arun Kumar, a contract worker with the railways and Ms. Srija, a second-year undergraduate student of English Literature at the V.O. Chidambaram College, tied the knot at the temple even as priests did not officiate their wedding.

Speaking to The Hindu , Ms. Srija said, “Marriages with transwomen are not usually enduring, as they end up being deserted [by their spouse]. We approached the court to make the lives of other transwomen better.”

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