In a first for Coimbatore district and probably the second-ever instance in Tamil Nadu, the marriage of a transwoman and a man from Narasimhanaickenpalayam was formally registered at the sub-registrar office in Vadavalli here on Friday.
S. Surega, a 23-year-old transwoman and R. Manikandan, a 24-year-old man married at a temple in Kavundampalayam exactly two years ago on February 14, 2018. However, their marriage application made on January 22 was rejected by Vadavalli sub-registrar office, which said in a reply to the couple that the word ‘transgender’ “finds no place” in the Hindu Marriage Act.
This was in contradiction with the April 2019 verdict of the Madurai ‘Bench of Madras High Court, which stated that the world ‘bride’ in the Act would also include transwomen. Hence, on January 27, the couple along with their lawyer P.P. Sivkumar approached the District Registrar Office seeking the registration of their marriage.
According to Mr. Sivkumar, the petition to the District Registrar Office prompted a response from the Inspector General of Registration Office, Chennai, which clarified to the sub-registrar office that the Act is applicable for transgenders. “This will ensure the legal rights of every transwoman-man couple in Tamil Nadu henceforth,” he told The Hindu on Friday. Mr. Sivkumar said that he was one of the three witnesses for the marriage registration at the Vadavalli sub-registrar Office along with the parents of Mr. Manikandan.
An official from the Vadavalli sub-registrar office said that the couple visited the office at around 10.30 a.m. and that the entire registration process was completed within 30 minutes. The couple were issued the marriage certificate following the registration, the official noted. There were discrepancies in the date of birth of Mr. Manikandan in the January 22 application, which he had corrected and all the pertinent documents were furnished on Friday, according to the official.
“I am so happy that I have a fever now!” Ms, Surega told The Hindu over the phone amidst intermittent coughing a few hours after the marriage. The couple are planning to adopt a baby soon, she said. “I hope that our marriage might help others in the future who are in a similar position,” Mr. Manikandan said, expressing happiness that the marriage took place in the presence of his parents.