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Sex change couple may be able to stay married

Matthew Warren · 28 Oct 2011, 07:34

Published: 28 Oct 2011 09:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Oct 2011 07:34 GMT+02:00

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A couple from Brittany were one step closer to becoming the first legally married same sex couple in France on Thursday after they cleared a legal hurdle to have the husband's sex change legally recognized.

When Wilfrid Avrillon married his wife, Marie, in August 1997 both of them had a secret. Marie was lesbian but was not ready to acknowledge it while Wilfrid wanted to live as a woman.

In an interview with website Yagg, Marie explained she was fearful of "prejudice and family consequences" while Wilfrid felt "like a woman but unfortunately born in a man's body."

Over the course of their 14-year marriage, the two came to terms with their situation and Wilfrid embarked on a process to change sex, now preferring to live as Chloé.

The couple now want to have Chloé's change of gender officially recognized. However, by doing so they are concerned that they will not be permitted to stay married. Same sex marriage is illegal in France.

"This is about a married couple who want to stay that way," said the couple's lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot, reported local newspaper Le Télégramme. 

"A change of identity does not mean the break-up of a marriage. On the contrary, it strengthens it."

A private appearance to argue their case in front of a tribunal on Thursday in Brest ended positively for the couple.

"There is no opposition," said the lawyer. "The prosecutor is in agreement, everyone is in agreement and we will get a judgement on December 15th which will permit a change in gender."

A positive judgement in December will make Chloé and Marie the first legally married same sex couple in France. It will also make them the first legally recognized same sex parents. "A double first," according to their lawyer.

As for the couple, they hope that a decision in their favour will benefit the cause of homosexual marriage in France.


Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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