Alex Blaze

First Same-Sex Marriage in France to Happen in December

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 27, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Brest, France, gay marriage, lesbian, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, us

France does not perform same-sex marriages map_of_france.jpegnor does it recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, but Liberation reports that a marriage between two women will be allowed in Brest as soon as one of the partners is legally recognized as a woman in December (sic throughout):

Wilfrid Avrillon, who's still considered a "woman in a man's body," married 43-year-old Marie, who's a lesbian, fifteen years ago. They have three children before Wilfrid decided to become a woman after an operation.

Her birth certificate should be modified as the process continues as it normally does for people who change sex. The tribunal did not ask for divorce before acceding to this demand, according to the lawyer. "There was no opposition. The prosecutor agreed, everyone agreed, and we'll certainly have a judgement December 15th that will rectify her civil status."

The prosecutor can still claim that it's a same-sex marriage and appeal.

Anyway, this is bigger here than it would be in the US.

The French government's bureaucracy runs on consistency - it's rare for someone to have two forms of documentation that say different things. National ID cards are issued to everyone and are required for a large number of actions, and birth certificates are regularly updated with information on changes in people's lives.

There isn't a situation where someone would have a valid driver's license, passport, or birth certificate with different names or gender markers on them, as happens in the US.

So the fact that the French government could recognize a same-sex marriage means more here than it would in the US.

The current government is conservative and unlikely to approve legislation for same-sex marriage, but it faces elections in 2012 and strong opposition from the Socialist party.

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This is a massive unknown in the US. Apparently, there is no case law wrt having an opposite sex marriage, then one of the ppl changing their sex without the couple getting a divorce. I am in such a couple, and honestly our marital status seems to be in limbo.

I continue to have my wife on my company health insurance as my spouse, rather than switching over to her being my 'partner', which is supported by my company, even though I am now (as far as I know, at least!) listed as female on company records (certainly on insurance records), and have not been called on that. My big fear is that at some point they will come back and say that she was not really covered all that time, and make me reimburse them for what they paid for her. This would wipe us out financially, as she has some serious health problems, and generates huge health care bills.

For taxes, this year I sent them in both for us as married filing jointly, and as two single ppl, along with a letter explaining the situation, and documentation of my sex change. Really, we save a little by filing as singles, but again I worry about the government coming back and hitting us with penalties or something. The state (IN) seemed to accept the married one, and the IRS used the two single ones (though they didn't send us back any money!).

Honestly, I don't know what will happen when it comes down to filing for some federal benefit, or for my pension. I wish this ambuguity would get resolved one way or the other so we could plan our finances better.

My natural instinct is to act like we were a lesbian couple, and therefore legally considered unmarried, as I feel it is hypocritical for me to get continue to receive benefit from being male, and also I find it very psychologically damaging. However, my therapist essentially browbeat me into doing things as if we are still married. Her position was that it was unfair to my wife for her to lose out on things like SS, SSA, my pension, all that. Also, she felt it was a way of getting the better of a discriminatory system. I felt guilty and gave in, and continue to do it for the same reason. Sucks, but I love my wife so much that I don't want to do anything (beyond transitioning, which was horrid for her) that would make her life harder.


Justus Eisfeld Justus Eisfeld | October 28, 2011 6:42 AM

The Constitutional Courts in both Austria and Germany declared divorce requirements for married trans people unconstitutional in rulings in the past few years, arguing that the right to family life weighs stronger than the inconvenience for the state to have to tolerate a limited number of same-sex marriages. (same-sex marriage does not exist in either country) In fact the court in Austria said that the marriage was already a same-sex marriage as soon as the partner transitioned socially, and that all the state could and should do was accept and document this reality.