Lawmakers in Germany announced Wednesday that the government will legally recognize a third gender option on birth certificates. Germany's court determined that its current system doesn't support a third gender option, but this ruling would allow it to become the first European country to pass a regulation of this caliber. The new law is expected to go into effect by Dec. 31, 2018. 

The ruling comes after the European country approved same-sex marriage in June, which coincided with Gay Pride month. German Parliament secured 393 votes in favor and 226 against, with four abstentions. Two men in October became the first gay couple to legally marry in Berlin, Germany.

The case was brought to the court by an individual who identifies as intersex. The complainant requested for their birth certificate's gender identification to be changed from "female" to "inter/diverse." The request was initially denied because a child legally needed to be assigned as either male or female under German civil status law.

This third gender option would accommodate all individuals born as intersex.

"The general right of personality also protects gender identity, which is regularly a constituent element of an individual’s personality," a press release of the Wednesday ruling read. "The assignment of gender is of paramount importance for individual identity; it usually plays a key role both for a person’s self-conception and for the way this person is perceived by others."

"The mere possibility of entering a further gender does not oblige anyone to assign themselves to this third gender. In a regulatory system that requires information on gender, the existing options for persons with deviating gender development to be registered as male, female or without gender entry certainly need to be preserved," the ruling read.

Germany isn't the only country to recognize a third gender option. Australia, India, New Zealand, Nepal and the U.S. also provide the option on official documents.

Intersex isn't an uncommon, with about 1 in 1500 to 1 in 2000 intersex births annually. Between 0.05 percent and 1.7 percent of the population is born possessing intersex biological sex features. 

It is still commonly misunderstood, even among parents of affected babies. Most medical experts recommend that parents hold off on genitalia-related surgical procedures unless it's medically necessary. 

"Why do something that might be irreversible and not agree with the child later on in life?" Tiger Devore, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist specializing in sex therapy, told Parents. "You don't want to force [the child] into an identity that might not be a good fit later on in life."

Devore added: "When gender assignment is forced, often by irreversible surgery in the first year of life, that child may self-harm or commit suicide when puberty doesn't match who they know themselves to be."