The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that married transgender people living in countries where same-sex marriage is illegal must divorce if they want their true gender to be recognized, reports Gay Star News.
The decision comes after Heli Hämäläinen, a Finnish transgender woman, was told on July 16th that she can only have her gender recognized if she divorces her wife.
The ECHR ruled that there is no obligation on states without same-sex marriage laws to marry two people of the same gender if one of the partners is transgender.
The couple, married for 18 years with one child, say that getting divorced would go against their religious convictions.
Although the ECHR recognized the difficulties of daily situations for transgender people without legal gender recognition, it said that forcing the couple to end their marriage and instead enter into a registered partnership should not be a problem.
Arja Voipio, Transgender Europe’s Co-Chair from Finland, 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.”