A transgender couple earned an apology and a right to wed after a 14-month battle.
Jalea Lamot, and her transgender partner, LaShawn Peterson had been together for 14 years before going to the City Clerk's Bronx office to receive a marriage license in December, 2009.
According to legal documents, Lamot and Peterson were told that they could not receive a marriage license unless they presented their birth certificates. State law requires only a valid government-issued identification.
City Clerk Michael McSweeney issued a two-page memorandum directing his office to "set aside any preconceptions about gender and to apply the laws uniformly to all who seek our Bureau's services ..."
McSweeney also notes that, "Gender stereotypes or preconceived notions related to gender expression--including an applicant's physical appearance, dress, behavior, or name may not be considered when deciding whether to issue a marriage license."
Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund applauded the directive.
"This is the first time it's been written down in this form, to ensure this type of discrimination doesn't happen again," Silverman told the Daily News.
The couple also received a personal apology from McSweeney.
"We sincerely apologize to you both for any inconvenience or embarrassment that resulted from this incident," McSweeney said.
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