Counsel for a mother of two whose husband is seeking a new birth certificate after transitioning into a woman has told the Irish High Court that such a ruling would create “enormous uncertainty.”
Anne Foy is legally separated from Dr Lydia Foy, a dentist who underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1992.
Dr Foy is asking the court to order that the 2002 decision not to issue her with a new birth certificate breaches the European Convention on Human Rights.
Counsel for Mrs Foy told the court yesterday that she could be in a unique position if the Court rules in Dr Foy’s favour.
She may not have even been legally married, as the Irish state only recognises a marriage between people of the opposite sex.
Her divorce from Dr Foy might also be affected by a ruling that favours her former husband.
Dr Foy married Mrs Foy in 1977 and fathered two daughters.
She changed her name to Lydia in 1993 and has previously been issued with an Irish passport and driving licence in which she is identified as female.
Dr Foy also obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate in the UK, but the High Court in Dublin questioned the relevance of the document in the Republic of Ireland.
When obtaining the certificate, Dr Foy stated that she was unmarried.
In 2002, Dr Foy was refused a direction by the courts to the Registrar of Births to describe Dr Foy as female on her birth certificate.
Just days after that High Court ruling the European Court of Human Rights ruled on a landmark case.
The UK’s refusal to give transgender people new birth certificates breached their rights to marry and to respect for privacy under the Convention, the European court ruled.
At that time the High Court urged the Irish government to take action, but nothing has been done in the intervening five years, so Dr Foy has returned to court.