Russian Men Attempt Gay Marriage
January 18, 2005
Two Russian men have made an attempt to register a gay
marriage in Moscow.
They did not expect to succeed, but sought legal grounds
to challenge the Russian Family Code, which forbids gay marriages.
Ed Mishin and Edvard Murzin say this provision of the
Code contradicts the Russian constitution.
Their application was accepted by the state registration
agency, but they were told to come back in 10 days to get an official written
Mr Murzin, an MP from the Bashkortostan autonomous
region, claims he is not gay but defends gay rights.
He told journalists he expected the written rejection to
refer to the Family Code, which they could then challenge in the Russian
“The Russian constitution does not say that people of
the same sex cannot get married. It says in black-and-white that sex-, race-
or religion-based discrimination is banned,” said Mr Mishin, editor-in-chief
of Kvir (Queer) magazine.
Some liberal politicians hailed the attempt, but were
sceptical about the pair’s chances.
“Russia will not be among the first countries to allow
same-sex marriages, but it will certainly do so at some point,” MP Petr
Shchelishch told Ekho Moskvy radio.
“This attempt is unlikely to lead to a Constitutional
Court decision, but it is good in terms of changing public attitudes.”
Male homosexuality was a criminal offence in Russia until
1993. Calls to reimpose the ban are often heard in the Russian parliament.
In 2003, the Russian Orthodox Church dismissed a priest
who had registered a church marriage of two men in the Nizhny Novgorod region
of central Russia.
The Orthodox Church says same-sex relations are a mortal
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