A gay couple has filed a legal challenge to have France recognize their Spanish marriage, France's Liberation reported.

Manuel de Aguirre, a Spanish engineer living in France since 1969, and Antonio Damieta, who holds dual French and Spanish citizenship, were married last February in the Spanish consulate in Cape Town, South Africa. Spain legalized gay marriage in 2005.

The couple attempted to have their union recognized upon their return to Paris, but were denied.

Gay marriage is not legal in France. However, the government does recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian foreigner nationals. Damietta's dual citizenship disqualified the couple.

“France recognizes any foreigner who is married according to the law of the country where the spouses were married” except in cases where the marriage is considered an “affront to public order,” de Aguirre said.

“This is a denial of my marital status,” he added.

An attempt to legalize gay marriage was blocked by President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP Party in June.

De Aguirre told Spanish new agency EFE that he has written to presidential candidates about the issue, raising the possibility that gay rights could become a factor in next year's national elections.