A lesbian couple was denied a marriage
license in Russia Tuesday, reports The Moscow Times.
The couple, Irina Shepitko, 32, and
Irina Fedotova-Fet, 30, were turned away by officials at the Tverskoi
branch of the State Registry Office where they requested a marriage
license as a pack of foreign reporters looked on.
Prominent gay activists Nikolai
Alekseev announced the gay couple would attempt to marry in Russia
Alekseev said he was not surprised by
the outcome. “You are now seeing a concrete example of
discrimination against sexual minorities in Russia,” Alekseev told
journalists. “It's exactly what I expected.”
Tuesday's stunt was just the opening
salvo of a hectic week of gay rights protests culminating in a banned
Moscow gay pride march on Saturday, Slavic Pride.
Authorities have denied gay activists a
parade license since a 2006 event turned violent. This year, Slavic
Pride will coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest finale.
Gay activists have asked contestants to
support gay and lesbian rights by wearing pride pins during the
At least one contestant has threatened
to boycott the event should violence occur at Slavic Pride. Dutch
singer Gordon, a member of The Toppers, told Radio
Netherlands, “If violence is used during the demonstration, I'll
fly straight back to the Netherlands.”
Activists say the couple will be flown
to Canada, most probably Toronto, to marry.
“Canada and Norway are the only
countries which opened same sex marriage to non-residents,”
Alekseev said last week. “We initially considered flying the
couple to Norway but the procedure is long and fastidious.”
The gay activists hope to exploit a
loophole in Russian law that does not ban the recognition of legal gay
marriages formed abroad.
“There is a clear loophole in the
Russian law that we are going to use,” Alekseev said.