Leandro Barreto and François Souyri face an uncertain future when they discovered that their intention to relocate to France has been thrown into disarray by the French government's failure to recognise their marriage. 

Their plans to make a life in France are on hold when, to their consternation, they learned that their marriage was not recognised in France as it was backed dated from their civil partnership in 2008 when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 offered the possibility of converting their status to that of married men without an additional ceremony.  Whilst France recognises same sex marriage, because the marriage was facilitated by the conversion procedure it is not accepted in France. 

The only solution offered to them is to divorce and re-marry in France which is not an option as far as they are concerned.  The French position is that the conversion procedure does not amount to marriage as it does not conform to the enshrined principals of a marriage ceremony recognised the world over, i.e. reasonable public notice given of the intended marriage, two witnesses to the marriage and a marriage certificate dated to reflect the actual date of the ceremony.  The nature of the conversion renders it incompatible with French law.

The whole matter is complicated by Leandro and François' seven year old son whose security would be compromised if the couple move to France without recognition of their married status as his adoption would not be recognised in France.  Understandably they do not want to be placed in the position where only one parent is permitted to adopt their son in France as they are both his parents and there would still be a difficult position as if something overcame the adopting  "parent" the little boy would then be left technically an orphan as his other parent would not be recognised.  The family are left completely in limbo as when the two men attempted to fix the situation by re-marrying in France and were astonished to learn that despite the fact that France does not recognise their marriage they cannot marry again in France because they are already married. 

The Foreign Office confirms that there are several couples in this position; as it stands at the moment the only option is a sham divorce in the UK and re-marriage in France which for many is completely unacceptable.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.