finlandTransgender Law Center has submitted a brief (below) to the European Court of Human Rights in a significant transgender-rights case, Hämäläinen v. Finland. Finland, like several other countries in the European Union, has a law that prohibits married transgender people from having their gender legally recognized. In other words, in order to get a legal gender change in Finland, a person must be either single or, if married, get divorced. This kind of law creates an impossible and unfair choice between the fundamental human right to marry and the right to have one’s gender legally recognized.

Our brief explains that in the U.S., not a single state has a law requiring a transgender person to be single or get divorced in order to get legal recognition of their gender—even the many states that otherwise do not recognize same-sex marriages. The brief also explains that the law is clear in the U.S. that when one spouse in a valid different-sex marriage undergoes gender transition, their marriage remains valid.

Reed Smith LLP was pro bono co-counsel on the brief along with Transgender Law Center. We submitted the brief on behalf of a coalition of U.S.-based LGBT-rights organizations, including Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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