Two brides get married to each other in 'first Russian LGBT wedding'

Outraged MPs have branded wedding 'criminal negligence'

Two brides in Russia officially married on Friday without violating the country's ban on same-sex marriages after exploiting a loophole in the law.

Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova arrived at a registry office in St Petersburg holding bouquets of flowers and wearing traditional white wedding dresses to tie the knot in the presence of family and friends, as seen in photographs posted on vk.com, a Russian social network.

The couple are likely to escape punishment as one of the brides is not legally a woman as she describes herself as transsexual rather than transgender.

"Yes, in my passport it says ‘male’,” Irina told news channel Russia Today.

"Transgender is a term to describe discrepancies between social and biological sex. I am transsexual, meaning that despite I have XY-genome, psychologically I am a woman," she added.

The Family Code of Russia claims that marriage is "a voluntary consent of a man and a woman" but Irina and Alyona consider themselves to be the first LGBT married couple in the country.

Irina is on hormone therapy, wears her blonde hair long and likes feminine clothes and make-up and, despite living her life as a woman, the couple have been able to register their marriage without violating laws due to the biological discrepency.

However, the event has angered St Petersburg MP Vitaly Milonov, who is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriages and vowed to investigate the legality of their union.

"I understood their [registry office workers'] unconvincing arguments; they formally approached the issue and saw passports, but not people. I told the head [of the wedding registry office] that it is criminal negligence," he told local media, according to Russia Today.

Milonov said he is going to get prosecutors involved to try to avoid such "ugly insults to millions of Russian families in the future."

 

The marriage is considered to be a monumental step toward getting same-sex marriages legalised in Russia, and one of the bridesmaids, Marina Teodori, is reported to have 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."

However, not all LGBT-activists agree that Irina and Alyona should be considered a gay couple as they argue that their union is not between two biological males or females.

Gay rights campaigner Nikolay Alekseev told Russia Today: "This is in no way a same-sex marriage. This is a question of transgender, not homosexuality."

"This is an old story, there had been such cases before. A certain gender is written in a passport, but how they dress for the wedding is their business," he added.

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