Rule Case Study Sample
The issue in the following case is whether the marriage between a male and a transsexual, who has changed her sexual anatomy to female, is a legal marriage between a man and a woman.
In an English case, Corbett v. Corbett , 2 W.L.R. 1306, 2 All E.R. 33 (P.D.A. 1970), the court ruled that the transsexual had failed to prove that his sex change operation resulted in an actual change of sex from male to female. The decision was based primarily on the opinion of medical experts who argued that the sex of a person is fixed at birth, and it cannot be changed by any medical means, including surgery. Therefore, the operation did not change the plaintiff`s sex. In order to determine the true sex of a person, there must be a congruency of three tests: chromosomal, gonadal and genital, meaning that the true criterion of one`s sex is purely biological. Based on this reasoning, the court held that the marriage between a man and a transsexual cannot be consummated.
The New Jersey court, however, has disagreed with the reasoning in Corbett v. Corbett. The court notes that the biological criterion is not the only standard relevant in determining the sex of a personality. The evidence presented before the court indicates that a person`s sex or sexuality is not confined solely to the anatomy, but embraces one`s gender which is the sense of psychological identity with certain sex. Therefore, for the purposes of marriage between a male and a transsexual, there must be “unity” of anatomical sex and psychological gender. A transsexual must be a female both anatomically and psychologically.
Thus, the court determined that the plaintiff`s psychological identity was harmonized with her biological sex through surgery, which made it possible for her to engage in sexual intercourse with the opposite sex. Therefore, the plaintiff is entitled to enter into a valid marriage with a male.
M.T. v J.T., 140 N.J. 77, 355 A.2d 204, 205 (NJ Super. Ct. 1976)