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NYC Gives Trans Residents Equal Access to Marriage Licenses

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New York City has just adopted a new policy that allows transgender residents equal access to marriage licenses. The move is part of an agreement reached between a transgender couple and city officials.

Noah Lewis is the staff attorney at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund–he tells OutQ News that his clients were targeted because they did not seem to match the names or sex on their photo IDs. That proved to be a problem when the opposite-sex couple presented them to apply for a marriage license in the Bronx. The city clerk reportedly refused to issue the license and instead demanded that they provide birth certificates.

Lewis says that the new policy will prohibit discrimination based on perceived gender and gender expression by confirming that only one form of ID is required, meaning the city cannot ask for additional proof of identification.

Lewis says that once policy-makers understood what had happened in the case, they were “on board pretty quickly.” And he says the transgender community is thrilled by the results.

[LEWIS]: “Everywhere that transgender people go they’re questioned about whether they are a man or woman. This is an ongoing fear that trans people have in a lot of different situations. So to know that you can go to get a marriage license that you are entitled to have and not be questioned in ways that other people aren’t, is very reassuring to people.”

Lewis also says that the state’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination bill has already passed through a Senate committee. He says THAT is the kind of recognition the transgender community needs.

-Rose Bochner

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