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Gender-swap law breaches equality rights, court rules

23 June 2010

A woman whose new gender was not recognised because she had not divorced the woman she married before she underwent gender reassignment surgery, has won a legal claim that her rights were infringed.

Christine (formerly Christopher) Timbrell had claimed that she was entitled to a state pension from the age of 60, but was refused because her gender was not recognised due to her still being married to Joy Timbrell.

The couple had refused to divorce on religious grounds. Yesterday the Court of Appeal upheld their claim that the rule in the Gender Recognition Act that forces a transsexual to end their marriage before their new gender could be recognised, was in breach of European equality law.

They said they did not wish to enter a civil partnership because that would imply that they were gay.

The court ruled that the Department for Work and Pensions was obliged to recognise that Ms Timbrell "had a right, by virtue of her acquired gender, to retirement pension from her 60th birthday".

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