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Stonewall calls for change after trans man fails in birth certificate legal bid

ByPA News

A campaign organisation is urging ministers to update legislation after a transgender man who has given birth but does not want to be described as the “mother” on his child’s birth certificate failed in a bid to take his case to the Supreme Court.

Journalist Freddy McConnell, who is in his thirties, wants to be registered as “father” or “parent” and says forcing him to be recorded as “mother” breaches his human right to respect for private and family life.

He has already lost two rounds of legal battles, in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court justices said on Monday that they would not consider his case.

Appeal judges had said earlier this year that the issue involved complicated “interlinked” legislation and any reform of the law was a matter for Parliament.

LGBT charity Stonewall said legislation desperately needed updating so trans parents could be recognised for “who they are”.

“All parents, including LGBT parents, deserve to be recognised for who they are and it’s incredibly frustrating that the Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to progress equality,” said Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley.

“The current legislation contradicts the fragile equality trans people currently have, where they can have full recognition on some legal documents, but not on others.

“Just like any other parents, trans parents should be able to have their relationship to their child recognised on their child’s birth certificates.

‘Equality is not a luxury and this legislation desperate needs to be updated so trans parents can be recognised for who they are.

President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane who was the first judge to dismiss Freddy McConnell’s claim (Courts and Tribunals Judiciary)
President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane who was the first judge to dismiss Freddy McConnell’s claim (Courts and Tribunals Judiciary)

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, had initially ruled against Mr McConnell, in September 2019, after a High Court hearing.

He concluded that people who had given birth were legally mothers, regardless of their gender, and said there was a “material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent”.

Three appeal judges, including Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice and the most senior judge in England and Wales, upheld Sir Andrew’s decision in April.

Judges have heard that Mr McConnell is a single parent who lives as a man following surgery.

Mr McConnell was biologically able to get pregnant and give birth but was legally a man when the child was born.

A registrar told him that the law required people who give birth to be registered as mothers, and he took legal action against the General Register Office, which administers the registration of births and deaths in England and Wales.

Lawyers said the child would have been the first person born in England and Wales not to legally have a mother, had Mr McConnell won his fight.


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