Queensland Parliament Introduces Bill to Remove Requirement to Divorce When Changing Gender

Thursday 8 March 2018 @ 11.52 a.m. | Legal Research

The Queensland Government has introduced the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2018 (QLD) (‘the Bill’) in Parliament. The purpose of the Bill is to remove certain restrictions on noting the reassignment of a married person’s sex on the birth register or adopted children register.


The amendment of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) by the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 (Cth) (‘the amending Act’) allowed same-sex couples to marry. The amending Act also amended the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) to repeal the exemption from exemption from anti-discrimination law in relation to a refusal to alter a person’s sex on an official record because the person is married. This Bill aims to achieve consistency with these amendments. For more information on the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 (Cth), please read TimeBase’s earlier article

Legislative Changes

This Bill makes the following amendments:

  • Amendment of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003 (QLD) to remove the requirement that a person not be married to have the reassignment of their sex after sexual reassignment surgery noted in their entry in the register of births or adoption register;
  • Amendment of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Regulation 2015 (QLD) in order to ensure that an application to note the reassignment of a person’s sex no longer needs to be supported by evidence that the person is not married.

Yvette D’Ath, Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, noted in her explanatory speech that the proposed change is supported by key stakeholders:

“Since the passage of the marriage equality legislation, stakeholders have rightfully called for the urgent removal of the discriminatory requirement to divorce and stakeholders have requested that this be done well prior to the date of 9 December 2018 set by the marriage equality legislation. Now that we finally have marriage equality, the Palaszczuk Labor government has acted quickly to ensure that Queenslanders who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery no longer have to divorce their partner to have their sex legally recognised. The current restriction imposed by section 22 is discriminatory and has caused significant anguish for many sex and gender diverse Queenslanders. It is unjust and unfair that some members of our community are forced to face the distressing decision of choosing between their marriage and the legal recognition of their gender identity.”

Response to Bill

LGBTI Legal Service president Matilda Alexander supported the proposed changes, stating:

“Our clients are faced with an impossible choice between embracing their true gender identity by divorcing their supportive partner or continuing to live under the oppression of an official gender that does not match their identity but keeping their marriage. Last year, gay and lesbian Australians fought and won the right to equal love and today's announcement will bring marriage equality to transgender people in Queensland as well.”

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.


Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2018 (QLD), explanatory speech and explanatory note, as published on TimeBase LawOne.

Felicity Caldwell, ‘Unjust and unfair' marriage laws to change in Queensland,’ (Brisbane Times) 6 March 2018.

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