Malaysian authorities are seeking to annul the marriage of a Muslim couple, claiming the husband was born a woman and the wedding was an illegal same-sex union, a court official said Tuesday.
A Shariah Court in the southern state of Malacca heard a lawsuit Monday filed against the couple by the state's Registrar of Marriages, a court official told The Associated Press.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't allowed to talk to the media. He declined to provide further details because the case was still being heard.
However, the New Straits Times newspaper identified the couple as Mohamad Sofian, 40, and Zaiton Aziz, 43, who were married in December 2002 in a mosque by a cleric.
It said the couple ran into problems when they tried to register their marriage, and produced their birth certificates as required by law. Mohamad Sofian's birth certificate bore a woman's name.
It is not clear if Mohamad Sofian is a transvestite or has had a sex change operation.
Mohamad Sofian appeared in court on Monday in a man's shirt, holding hands with his wife who was dressed in traditional Malay clothing, including a head scarf. The Times published their picture.
Same sex marriages are neither allowed in Islam nor recognized by Malaysia's secular laws that apply to ethnic Indian and Chinese non-Muslims, who constitute about 40 percent of the country's 26 million people.
Malaysian men who undergo sex change surgery are not recognized under Malaysian law as women, and vice versa.
It was not clear whether the couple also faced fines or other punishment apart from the marriage annulment, the AP says.
In 2005, the government declared a same-sex marriage between an ethnic Chinese transsexual - still legally a man - and her accountant boyfriend invalid.