Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Syariah Court orders same-sex marriage split

A Syariah Court in Malacca has ordered a couple who have been married for five years to split up after ruling that the husband was in fact a woman.
Lawyers for Mohd Soffian Mohamad, 40, had argued that their client was a hermaphrodite, the New Straits Times reported. But the court dismissed the claims on the evidence of medical experts, who testified that Mohd Soffian was not a man, and ordered a separation from the wife, 43-year-old Zaiton Aziz. "According to (Zaiton's) statement, she had never seen or touched her husband's private parts and had taken him to be a man all along and that she felt good and satisfied together," judge Che Saufi Che Husin said. "This is astounding and illogical. It is abnormal to go through life as husband and wife as such," he was quoted by the newspaper as saying. The court annulled the partnership on the grounds that it was a same-sex marriage, a practice banned in Muslim-majority Malaysia. A lawyer for the pair, who arrived in matching yellow outfits and left together after the verdict, said they would discuss whether to appeal. The couple were legally married in a mosque December 2002 by an imam, but the local religious department refused to register the marriage after Zaiton's family questioned Mohd Soffian's gender, Bernama news agency said. Mohd Soffian must also change the name and gender on his identity card to match his birth certificate, which lists him as Mazinah Mohamad.

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