New Delays In Same-Gender Marriage Suit in Russia

Lesbian couple denied marriage certificate still fighting courts in Moscow

Two women locked lips in protest outside a Moscow courtroom on August 26, after the court postponed hearing their testimony in the most publicized same-sex marriage appeal in Russia, the Associated Press reported.

Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko were denied a marriage certificate when they applied at a Moscow registry in May. Subsequently, a court ruled the refusal was lawful, as same-sex marriage is illegal in Russia. This was to be their appeal.

Judge Natalya Zhuravlyova cited the couple’s disrespectful failure to arrive in court as the reason for the postponement. The women arrived at court ten minutes after the hearing had ended, having been delayed by traffic. But Shipitko thought there was another reason for this new holdup in their search for marital recognition. She told the AP that the authorities “are using any excuse” to obstruct the process.

“There is enough homophobia in this country. We are no different from any other couple,” she said.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but the country has no anti-discrimination laws for LGBT people. Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov has referred to gay people as “satanic,” and has long opposed the city’s Pride celebrations.

Fedotova-Fet and Shipitko plan to marry in Canada in October, and then urge the Russian authorities to recognize their union.

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