Russia: Same-sex couple allowed to marry in St Petersburg

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There is outcry in Russia after a lesbian couple were allowed to marry.

On Friday, Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova married in a St Petersburg registry office, both turning up in wedding dresses and holding bouquets of flowers.

Same-sex marriage remains banned in Russia, but the registrars found themselves with an unexpected legal dilemma – as Ms Shumilova is transsexual, and is is legally treated as male.

Ms Shumilova – who prefers to use the term transsexual instead of transgender – has lived as female for several years and is on hormone therapy, but is still treated as a man by the state.

As such, the registrars had to either recognise her gender in order to halt the marriage, or allow it to go ahead – and opted to do the latter.

Bridesmaid Marina Teodori, said: “This is a big step for all of us. Most of us want formally get married, but in Russia it is still impossible.

“For us it is the realisation of our dreams. We hope many will have this opportunity.”

Extreme anti-gay politician Vitaly Milonov branded the move an “ugly insults to millions of Russian families”.

He said: “I understood their unconvincing arguments; they formally approached the issue and saw passports, but not people. I told the [registry office] head that it is criminal negligence.”

Despite some outlets reporting at as the “first” such marriage, a similar incident occurred in August when Alina Davis and Allison Brooks were allowed to marry in matching wedding dresses, as one is legally male.