Transgender issues arise in wake of recent Supreme Court ruling

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Thursday, July 16, 2015.

A New York Times article today spotlights one group that it notes is highly interested in and also closely affected by the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country: the transgender community.

Our Illinois family law website of course notes and discusses that seminal judicial ruling, pointing out its extension of rights to gay and lesbian couples seeking to marry.

And also to divorce. We note that same-sex couples across the United States are now “entitled to the same protections and benefits as parties dissolving a traditional marriage.”

Although Obergefell v. Hodges did not centrally address transgender couples, the Times notes that the case outcome has implications for that demographic and that “courts need to resolve related matters for transgender litigants.

An Illinois case from several years back well illustrates and confirms that assertion. A state court ruling in 2005 pronounced a man who was still in the process of transitioning to a female not fully male. Following on that determination, the court denied that person parental and child custody rights in a divorce proceeding.

An outcome like that is obviously sad and unfortunate in the extreme, placing a transgender person into a status marked by ambiguity and a certain legal limbo that makes the exercise of family law rights an iffy proposition.

Advocates for the transgender community voice hopes that the recent high-court ruling will place a sharp focus on the special issues and challenges that singularly beset the transgender population.

As the above-cited media report states, courts are increasingly accepting of the view that “in marriage and other matters, gender can’t be reduced to chromosomes or surgeries.”

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