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France not recognising same-sex marriages converted from civil partnerships

Couples advised to divorce and re-marry

Pink News has reported that at least a dozen same-sex couples have been caught in an impasse because France does not recognise their English marriages.

The paper cites the case of Leandro Barreto and François Souyri who entered a civil partnership in 2008. They converted it to a marriage under the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Conversion of Civil Partnership) Regulations 2014 which came into force in December 2014. On conversion the marriage is backdated to the date of the couple's civil partnership.

The couple now wish to relocate to France with their adopted son. In France, however, legally-recognised marriages must have had a wedding ceremony with witnesses, and the marriage certificate must reflect the date of the wedding itself.  Consequently, a converted (and backdated) marriage is incompatible with French law and will not be recognised in France. Nor will the adoption of their son be recognised.

French officials have advised the couple to divorce and re-marry though under English law there are no grounds for divorce. Pink News says that they have identified others in a similar situation. The couple are reported to be contemplating suing the French government.

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20/10/17