Russia: Anti-gay lawmaker preparing bill to close same-sex marriage ‘loophole’

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The author of St Petersburg’s anti-gay censorship law is preparing a bill to force brides and grooms to wear traditional wedding attire, after a lesbian couple were allowed to marry last week.

Last week, 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, she is legally treated as male.

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

On Thursday, he said he is drafting a bill to counteract the loophole, which he calls “criminal negligence.”

He told the Izvesta: “At present… there is a dress code by which everyone must abide when visiting state institutions. Therefore, one should not dress inappropriately when visiting [any] event associated with a change in one’s civil status.

“It’s a matter of culture and education… We will not allow people dressed in clothes [associated] with the opposite sex or beach clothes to register their marriage at the registry office. Except for when that clothing is an element of their culture or of ethnic origin.”

He added he would forward the bill to the state Duma for consideration.

Despite some outlets reporting it 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.