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Lesbian couple attempt to marry in Russia

Jessica Geen May 6, 2009
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A lesbian couple are planning to apply for a marriage licence in Moscow later this month, it has been reported.

According to, Irina Fet and her partner will attempt to marry next Tuesday at one of Moscow‘s Marriage Registration Office.

Ms Fet, who is one of the organisers for Slavic Pride, to be held to coincide with the Eurovision final, made the announcement at a press conference for the event yesterday.

“We love each other for a while now and we want it to be officially recognised,” she told journalists.

“We believe that we have the same rights than any other citizen for happiness. Our love is not different.”

The couple expect their application to be turned down, but are planning to wed abroad if necessary and fight to have their marriage recognised in Russia.

Campaigners believe they can exploit a loophole in Russian law which does not specify gay marriage as a situation which prevents recognition of a marriage ceremony performed abroad.

Nikolai Alekseev, the chief organiser of the Slavic Pride and the couple’s legal advisor, said: “Canada and Norway are the only countries which opened same sex marriage to non- residents.

“We initially considered flying the couple to Norway but the procedure is long and fastidious, instead, we decided to register them in Toronto under Canadian laws.

“The Russian law clearly lists all the situation which prevent to recognise a marriage abroad and, a same sex marriage is not one of them. There is a clear loophole in the Russian law that we are going to use,” he added.

Campaigners have said they plan to take the fight for marriage equality to the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Alexeyev said this week he expects up to 500 people to join the parade, named Slavic Pride, despite official threats to close down any march.

He said he asked city authorities for permission to hold the march but added that 100 activists were prepared to disobey officials and risk prosecution by marching anyway.

City Hall spokesman Leonid Krutakov said last week: “There have been no official applications for permission to hold gay parades during the May holidays and all attempts to hold such events will be firmly stopped by the authorities.”

Gay rights advocates believe that with the world spotlight on Moscow for Eurovision, it is an ideal time to highlight discrimination.

“On the day of Eurovision, we want this issue to clearly raised at the international level,” Alexeyev said.

Activists in Moscow have been denied permission to hold a gay Pride march every year since May 2006.

Related topics: Europe

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