The Tokyo Family Court has rejected a suit filed by a married gender identity disorder plaintiff seeking to have the couple’s son, born via donor insemination, listed as their legitimate child in the family registry.
The plaintiff, 30, who was born a woman, reportedly had a sex-change operation and has registered as a male. His wife gave birth to the son, who is now almost 3, through donated sperm while the couple were living in Shiso, Hyogo Prefecture. The pair are now residents of Higashiosaka in Osaka Prefecture.
The court ruling Wednesday was the nation’s first involving the family register of a child whose parents include someone whose gender designation was legally changed to that of a man because of GID, the Justice Ministry said.
The 30-year-old plaintiff filed his son’s birth report with Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, in January. In March, however, the ward did not approve the request to register the boy as his legitimate child and left the space for the father’s name blank. His wife is also 30.
In Wednesday’s ruling, Judge Yoshiki Matsutani said the ward’s determination did not run counter to the Constitution, which states that “all of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.”
The Civil Code stipulates that a child borne by a woman in wedlock shall be presumed to be the child of her husband.
But the court’s ruling said the boy cannot be presumed to be the plaintiff’s son because it was objectively clear from the family registry that the husband was unable to produce sperm and therefore is not the father.
Judge Matsutani said the ward’s decision to leave the space for the name of the black in the plaintiff’s family registry also did not violate the law on special cases involving people with GID. He added that if the couple chose to adopt the boy, the child’s legal rights will be fully protected.
The couple plan to file an appeal with the Tokyo High Court.
They married in 2008 after the plaintiff, under the GID law, had his gender reversed in the registry. The wife gave birth to their son via donor insemination in November 2009 in Shiso. But city officials would not register the boy as having been fathered by the registered husband, citing his inability to procreate.
The couple changed their registered domicile to Shinjuku Ward, where they submitted their son’s birth report. The boy did not have a family register until then but the ward made an executive decision and created one for him, although he was not registered as being fathered by the husband.
A special law enacted in 2004 enables people with GID to change the gender designation in their family registries. Since entering into effect, the number of people who have changed their designation to male in family registries and filed reports with local authorities on children born via artificial insemination stands at 24, according to the Justice Ministry.
Such children are treated as born out of wedlock and the space for the father’s name is left blank in the family register, the ministry said.