Last edited: January 23, 2005

Russian Pair Seek Gay Marriage License, January 18, 2005

By Newscenter Staff

Moscow—A Russian politician and a gay journalist, have applied for a marriage license in Moscow. The application is expected to be rejected but the men say it will pave the way for a court battle to determine the legality of same-sex marriage in the country.

The couple is unusual though. Eduard Murzin, a Bashkiria regional State Assembly deputy, is hetrosexual. The man he wants to marry is Eduard Mishin, head of “Together” LGBT center and the editor of web newspaper

“Our marriage is a mere formality,” Murzin told the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily newspaper. “I do not belong to a sexual minority, but I am ready to stand up for the civil rights of gays and lesbians in Russia. An attempt to register an official marriage between the two males was conceived as an action of protest against the discrimination of sexual minorities.”

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Russia, but there is no law specifically banning it. Murzin began campaigning for the legalization of same-sex marriage a year ago.

Murzin has proposed legislation to amend the legal definition of marriage from the “mutual consent of a man and a woman” to “by mutual consent of citizens”. The bill was rejected.

The men say that the denial of the right to marriage for gays contradicts the Russian constitution.

“Russia will not be among the first countries to allow same-sex marriages, but it will certainly do so at some point,” Member of Parliament Petr Shchelishch told Ekho Moskvy radio Tuesday. “This attempt is unlikely to lead to a Constitutional Court decision, but it is good in terms of changing public attitudes.”

Mishin said Tuesday that he hopes the fight over same-sex marriage will mobilize the Russian LGBT community.

Homosexuality was illegal under the old Soviet regime but was decriminalized in 1993.

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