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Germany

German Court Bolsters Rights of Transssexuals

A man who has sought legal recognition as a woman will be allowed to stay married to his wife, Germany's Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has ruled.

Heinz Friedrich Harre kisses his partner Reinhard Luechow in front of the registry office

A transsexual shouldn't be expected to start over again in a same-sex union, said the court

The top court ruled Wednesday, July 23, as unconstitutional legislation that would have effectively forced persons having sex changes to dissolve their marriages.

The law only allows a sex change by single people.

The man, who was born in 1929, married 56 years ago and fathered three children, has felt for many years that he was really a woman, but he has an intact marriage which he does not want to abandon, the court heard.

Lifelong bond

Judges said it was unfair to expect someone to give up marriage, which enjoyed special constitutional protection, in order to claim other legal rights. The court said marriage was a lifelong bond.

Germany's parliament was instructed to amend the invalid law by August 1, 2009. Judges said parliament could prescribe that the man's marriage be converted into a same-sex marriage. Germany recognizes marriage-style unions between homosexuals.

The court said the main thing was that all the rights acquired from the man's decades-old marriage must be preserved and continued.

He should not have to start a blank page with the same-sex union.

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