UK: This gay couple was told to divorce by the government

At least a dozen loving same-sex couples have been told that they need to get divorced if they want legal rights. The impasse has affected gay spouses caught in a shocking legal tangle between the British and French governments.

Leandro Barreto and François Souyri are approaching their tenth wedding anniversary, having first entered a civil partnership in 2008. But when the family considered moving to François’ native France, they got caught in a conflict that culminated in officials telling them that they need to get divorced.

Leandro, a 43-year-old game developer, told PinkNews: “That’s not something we can do; it’s not an option for us…we’re just caught in limbo”.

Both France and the UK allow same-sex marriage, so recognition shouldn’t be an issue – but the couple are one of many who have fallen through the cracks between the two systems, leaving their entire family in an uncertain legal situation. The issue is further complicated for Leandro and François, as the lack of recognition for their marriage means that their son’s adoption is also not legally valid in France.

When same-sex marriage was rolled out in 2014, couples in civil partnerships were offered the chance to ‘convert’ their partnerships to a marriage. Under this process, couples were given marriage certificates backdated to the original date of their civil partnerships without a ceremony. But the conversions conflict with the way marriage is fundamentally meant to work in other countries.

In France, legally-recognised marriages must have had a wedding ceremony with witnesses, and the marriage certificate must reflect the date of the wedding itself. This means that backdated marriages from the UK are fundamentally incompatible with French law, and French officials say they are unable to recognise them. Read more via Pink News