A Russian lesbian couple have been barred from marrying by a court.

The Tverskoi District Court ruled that Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko cannot marry as Russia law states marriage is between a man and a woman.

The district court was upholding an earlier ruling by the city’s civil registry. The couple had tried to marry in May but had been turned away.

Fedotova-Fet and Shipitko are planning to marry in Canada on October 23rd. They believe they can force Russian authorities to recognise the marriage as a loophole in Russian law does not mention the gender of those who have a ceremony abroad.

The couple expected the latest bid to be turned down but are trying to raise awareness and publicity around the issue. Their spokesman Nikolai Alexeyev said they would fight the ruling.

Although homosexuality has been legal in the country since 1993, gay marriage is not permitted and attempts to hold Pride marches in the capital Moscow have seen activists beaten and abused.