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Ireland: Gender Recognition Bill Passed

(July 31, 2015) On July 15, 2015, the Gender Recognition Bill 2014 was passed by the Oireachtas (Irish legislature). (Gender Recognition Bill 2014, No. 116/2014, HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS.) The bill was signed into law by the President of Ireland on July 22. (2015 Legislation, PRESIDENT OF IRELAND.)

The bill enables transgender people to obtain full legal recognition of their preferred gender by securing a gender recognition certificate. (Gender Recognition Bill 2014, § 8.) The bill allows those over 18 to self-declare their gender change; however, those aged between 16 and 18 must undergo a court process involving the furnishing of supporting medical statements. (Government Agrees Self-Declaration Approach for Gender Recognition Bill, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL PROTECTION (June 3, 2015).)

The final version of the bill did not include the so-called “forced divorce” provision. (Mary Minihan, Gender Recognition Bill Will Drop “Forced Divorce” Clause, IRISH TIMES (June 3, 2015).) Previously, because same-sex marriage was constitutionally prohibited, individuals applying for a gender recognition certificate could not be married. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed this development as the “latest outworking” of the recent marriage equality referendum vote. (Rights Watchdog Welcomes Latest Outworking of Marriage Equality Vote, Irish Council for Civil Liberties website (July 16, 2015).)

Prepared by Lucy Jones, Law Library Intern, under the supervision of Luis Acosta, Chief, Foreign, International, and Comparative Law Division II.