A transgender woman in Malta whose challenge against the government led to changes in national marriage law, will be honoured as part of the country’s Republic Day.

Joanne Cassar challenged the Maltese Government in 2006 after she was denied the right to marry her boyfriend on the island, following her gender confirmation operation.

Following this decision, in 2011, Ms Cassar started legal proceedings at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to contest this.

While the case was still at court, the Maltese Government dropped their objection to Ms Cassar’s claim.

In April 2012, through an agreement reached outside of court, the Marriage Act was amended to include the “right of persons to marry a person of the sex opposite to their acquired sex”.

The right for transgender persons to marry was established in the 2002 ECHR case of Christine Goodwin vs The United Kingdom where the ECHR stated it “finds no justification for barring the transsexual from enjoying the right to marry under any circumstances.

Last week, the Maltese Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat also showed his support for the country’s upcoming civil partnership legislation saying that while there may be certain compromises around the bill, there will be no change surrounding its principles.