Re Kevin refers to the case of 'Kevin', a transsexual man, and 'Jennifer', his wife, who sought to have their marriage legally recognised in Australia and in doing so made marriage to members of the 'opposite' sex legal for all post-transition transsexuals in Australia.

The ruling:
For more information and the main source of this article:

'Kevin' and 'Jennifer' are a married couple, with two children. In 1999, they made enquires as to the status of their marriage, primarily for the sake of their children, who were not biologically related to Kevin. The Commonwealth Attorney General's Department advised them that they had no right to marry as 'Kevin', being a female-to-male transsexual, was still legally recognised only as a woman for the purposes of marriage. This was in spite of the fact he used a masculine name, had been living as a man for several years, had gone through a number of body modifications in order to render his body as male as possible, and had changed the sex on his birth certificate to 'male'.

After the validity of their marriage was challenged by the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department, 'Kevin' and 'Jennifer's marriage was granted a Declaration of Validity of Marriage by Justice Richard Chisholm in the Family Court of Australia on 12th October 2001.

The Commonwealth Attorney General appealed the 12th October 2001 decision. The appeal was heard before the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia, consisting of Chief Justice Nicholson and Justices Ellis and Brown. On 21st February 2003 the Court dismissed the appeal by the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Australia.

Re Kevin set a precedent in the law of Australia to the effect that the question of whether a person is a man or a woman for the purpose of the marriage law of Australia is to be determined as at the date of the marriage.

'Kevin' at birth had female chromosomes, gonads and genitals; but was still considered to have successfully undergone sex affirmation treatment sufficient to permit medical certification as male pursuant to sections 32B and 32C of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (NSW).

The following was cited in regards to 'Kevin' by the presiding justice, Justice Richard Chisholm in his conclusions in Re Kevin:

(a) He had always perceived himself to be a male;

(b) He was perceived by those who knew him to have had male characteristics since he was a young child;

(c) Prior to the marriage he went through a full process of transsexual re-assignment, involving hormone treatment and irreversible surgery, conducted by appropriately qualified medical practitioners;

(d) At the time of the marriage, in appearance, characteristics and behaviour he was perceived as a man, and accepted as a man, by his family, friends and work colleagues;

(e) He was accepted as a man for a variety of social and legal purposes, including name, and admission to an artificial insemination program, and in relation to such events occurring after the marriage, there was evidence that his characteristics at the relevant times were no different from his characteristics at the time of the marriage;

(f) His marriage as a man was accepted, in full knowledge of his circumstances, by his family, friends and work colleagues.

The effects of this decision, while excellent in promoting the human and civil rights of transsexual people in Australia, nonetheless had negative repercussions for other people in the wider community: Namely, same-sex couples and persons whose gender does not follow the strict gender binary of male/female.

That is, because 'Kevin' had to prove that he was male in order to have his marriage to 'Jennifer', a non-transsexual woman, validated, it further enforced the idea that marriage is only permissible for "a man and a woman". And that a 'man' must conform to a certain set of criteria in order to be recognised as a 'man' and be granted the same rights as other 'men' (and by extension so must a woman conform...).

Rewritten 16/06/2005 to avoid cut 'n' pastiness...

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