An attempt to secure gay and lesbian marriage rights in Russia has failed.

The European Court of Human Rights said Wednesday that it would not consider the appeal of two men who claim they were denied the right to marry in Russia, reports

Gay activists in the former Soviet Union responded to the decision apathetically, saying the attempt was a “sham” from the start.

Human rights activist Edward Murzin and Eduard Mishin decided to test the conviction of Russia's ban on gay marriage when they requested a marriage license in January of 2005. After being denied a marriage license, and having exhausted appeals in the Russian courts, Murzin turned to the European Court of Human Rights.

The European Court refused to rule on the matter because Murzin is a heterosexual man, married with two small children. Furthermore, his purported groom, Mishin, attempted to register under a false name.

Organizers say the theatrics were not a stunt, that Murzin, the owner of the gay-oriented website, cares deeply about the rights of gays and lesbians.

“I have big respect for Edward Murzin, who took part in Moscow Pride events in 2006 and 2007, but the project of same-sex marriage legalization in Russia through this way was deemed to failure from its start,” said gay activist and Moscow Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev.

“European Court deals with human rights breaches and the rights of Mr. Murzin were not breached by anyone in this case. He said from the beginning that his marriage with Mr. Mishin is a sham and is only done to fight for the rights of sexual minorities,” he said. says there are several gay marriage cases currently before the European Court, including one from a French gay couple from Begle, France.