M.T. v J.T.
140 N.J. Super. 77, 355 A.2d 204 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1976)

Facts:

  • MT was born a male but had always felt that she was a female.
  • At the age of 14 she began dressing in a feminine manner and later began dating men.
  • In 1971, she underwent a sex change operation, paid for by the defendant, JT.
  • In 1972, the two got married and lived together as husband and wife, having intercourse.
  • In 1974 JT left her, and MT sued for support and maintenance.
  • JT argued that the marriage was void because MT used to be a man.

History:
The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court determined that plaintiff was a female and ordered defendant to pay $50 per week support.

Issue:
Whether the marriage between a male and a postoperative transsexual, who has surgically changed her external sexual anatomy from male to female, is to be regarded as a lawful marriage between a man and a woman.

Holding:
Yes. Affirmed.

Reasoning:
For marital purposes, if anatomical or genital features of genuine transsexual are made to conform to person’s gender, psyche or psychological sex, then identity by sex must be governed by congruence of these standards.

Rule: If sex reassignment surgery is successful and a postoperative transsexual is, by virtue of medical treatment, thereby possessed of full capacity to function sexually as male or female, as case may be, there is no legal barrier, cognizable social taboo, or reason grounded in public policy to prevent that person’s identification, at least for purposes of marriage, to the sex finally indicated.