A July 16th ruling by the European Court of Human Rights dictates that in European countries that do not allow same-sex marriage, a married trans person must get divorced in order to have their preferred gender recognized.
Heli Hämäläinen of Finland has been married to a woman for 18 years and the couple has a 12-year-old child. She wanted to be recognized legally as female, and brought legal action against Finland’s government under Article 8 (right to respect, privacy and family), Article 12 (the right to marry) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).
The court said she must get divorced to become female since Finland doesn’t have gay marriage, since the alternative would equate to forcing a country to recognize same-sex marriage.
The couple could opt for a same-sex union with almost the exact same legal protections, but they say divorce would go against their Christian beliefs.
Arja Voipio, Co-Chair of Transgender Europe, said:
“Our thoughts are today with Heli Hämäläinen and her family. The Court decided that their rights as a family are inferior to a narrow minded opinion about what a family and marriage should look like. The verdict shows that transgender issues at stake are still not properly understood.”
Only 17 of the 49 European countries allow same-sex marriage.
H/t: Gay Star News