LAHORE, Pakistan, June 27 (UPI) -- At least 50 clerics in Pakistan have issued a fatwa that allows marriage with a transgender person.
The new religious decree by Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat clerics, ruled a transgender person having "visible signs of being a male" is allowed to marry a woman or another transgender with "visible signs of being a female." Men are also allowed to marry transgenders who appear female.
But, the decree did draw a line, not allowing transgenders with "visible signs of both genders" to marry anyone.
The fatwa also concluded that transgender people could not be deprived of inheritance and parents who do so are "inviting the wrath of God." The clerics called upon the government to prosecute parents who take such actions.
It was also declared sinful to "humiliate, insult or tease" transgenders in any way, including denying them the right to be buried in Muslim ceremonies.
The decree by the influential religious group, though not legally binding, was a change in tone for a country where transgenders are often physically attacked.
Gay marriage in any form remains punishable by life imprisonment in Pakistan, and a "third gender" is not recognized on government identification cards.
Transgender activists welcomed the fatwa, issued Sunday, and called on the government to make the decree binding federal law.
"This is the first time in history that Muslim clerics have raised their voices in support of the rights of transgender persons," activist Qamar Naseem said. "But we have to go further for transgender people and the country needs to introduce legislation on it."