Last edited: January 23, 2005

Russian Men Attempt Gay Marriage

BBC News, 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 rejection.

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 Constitutional Court.

“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.

Changing attitudes

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 sin.

[Home] [World] [Russia]