By Hilary White

KARLSRUHE, Germany, July 25, 2008 ( – A German high court has ruled that those who have undergone “gender reassignment” therapy can now change their legal name and sex while they are still in legal marriages. Previously, the law only allowed the recognition of “sex-changes” if the person was unmarried. Married “transsexuals” who wanted to change their designations on birth certificates and other official documentation had to first obtain a divorce.  

The case was brought by a man, not named in the press, who underwent “sex-change” surgery in 2002, but who says he did not want to have to end his “happy marriage” in order to have the government recognise his “sex-change.” The Federal Constitutional Court ruled that he may change his gender and legal name without divorcing his wife, who, it is reported, also did not want to end the marriage.

The man was born in 1929, has three adult children and has been married for 56 years.

The court ruled that the government must change its law by 2009. The current law requires that a legal change of gender requires that the person is unmarried, permanently infertile, and “has had surgery through which their outer sexual characteristics are changed to a significant approximation to the appearance of the other sex/gender.”

Courts had previously struck down a provision of the law that required the person to be at least 25 years old.