Lesbians to attempt first gay marriage in Russia

Wed May 6, 2009 10:22am EDT
 
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By Amie Ferris-Rotman

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A lesbian couple will try to defy deep-rooted Russian homophobia next week in the first attempt at a gay marriage even though rights activists say it will be rejected outright.

Public relations worker Irina Fyet, 31, and her partner of the same age will apply for a marriage license at a register office on May 12 in Moscow, a city where mayor Yuri Luzhkov once described gay pride marches as "satanic."

Gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev said it was the first time a gay couple would apply for a license.

"I am 99 percent sure there will be a refusal, but maybe later the situation in Russia can change, the political feeling can change," he told Reuters on Wednesday.

The pair will most likely legally marry in the coming months in Toronto, or Norway, he added. Neither country requires residency for gay couples wishing to marry.

Activists say a loophole exists in Russian law which bans gay marriage at home but does not prevent the recognition of a same-sex marriage that has taken place abroad.

The Soviet Union banned homosexuality and any type of nudity on TV, and Russia did not decriminalize gay sex until 1993, two years after the USSR's collapse.

Unlike other major European cities, Moscow has no gay-friendly district and the homosexual scene is still largely underground.   Continued...