21.Submission from Elizabeth A Bellinger
I welcome the Bill but it certainly leaves out
some very important points for me which I am asking you to put
into the Bill. I need my marriage of 2 May 1981 to be retroactively
recognised, the same as for that of a man born a physical female
will be allowed to have his name and male gender retroactively
put on birth certificates of his children. (Clause 8 Parenthood,
I was married 2 May 1981. I have used up my
time in litigation in the English Courts and each time I was told
that it was something to be dealt with by legislation, this is
why I am petitioning you to give me the dignity I deserve.
Argument Number 1
It had been argued in court from the High Court
through to the Court of Appeal and then through to the Law Lords
in the House of Lords. All Judges agreed that it was not for litigation
but for legislation to change my plight. Throughout it was argued
by government that when legislation came in it could not be retroactive.
This meant that my marriage could never be accepted as I was not
able to be "a woman at the material time". That is,
I could not have been a woman at the time of my marriage.
The Government has made a very grave mistake
by putting retroactivity into the Draft Gender Recognition Bill.
For one section of society yet ignoring another. By doing this
it is also ignoring five Law Lords.
Parenthood on page 5 it states
(2) But where a person whose gender has
become the male gender would be treated as the father of a child
by virtue of subsection (3) of section 28 of the Human Fertilisation
and Embryology Act 1990 (c.37) (man to be treated as father of
child conceived by reason of treatment services provided for him
and a woman together) but for not having been "a man at the
material time," that person is to be treated as the father
of the child by virtue of that sub section."
This concerns me greatly. It means that for
one section of society it is possible to allow them to be male
retroactively for the benefit of having his name put on the birth
certificate of children born many years prior to the Bill. However,
I am not allowed to be retroactively female for the purpose of
my marriage 2 May 1981. It takes away the right of Michael to
have had a loving wife since 2 May 1981. Besides my husband Michael,
the Bill has ignored the rights of Michael's daughter, whom I
gained legal custody of, to have had a mother all these years.
Failure to correct this error at this stage
may make the Bill unworkable or most certainly be seen to favour
one section of society over another.
May I remind the Committee that marriage is
hard enough today. It has to be worked at, it does not come naturally.
We tell our children that marriage is important, and then our
leaders say that 22 years of working at it does not count. What
message does that send out to our children of the future?
May I further argue that in Australia since
the re Kevin case? Kevin was allowed to have his marriage recognised
in law and also have his name on the birth certificates of his
children. Australia has not since turned into Sodom and Gomorrah.
Australia is still standing and respected around the world.
Argument Number 2
You will note in the Draft Recognition Bill's
Explanatory Notes I and my case is there for your information,
yet I am ignored in the Bill.
Five Law Lords declared section 11(c) of the
Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 was incompatible with the Human Rights
Act 1998. The Bill fails to recognise that the Law Lords all agreed
that the UK is in violation of Article 8 and 12 with my right
to be married. The Bill has not addressed what I had asked for;
my marriage to be retroactive and that the term to decide marriage
male and female has not been addressed.
30 July 2003