Despite Russia’s laws banning ‘gay propaganda’ and same-sex marriages, two women were permitted to marry in St. Petersburg this weekend.
Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova tied the knot this weekend in front of friends and family, in the first wedding of it’s kind in conservative Russia.
The marriage was permitted on a technicality, as Shumilova was born male and in the process of gender reassignment surgery. Shumilova – who identifies as transsexual – is still listed as a male on her passport, making the marriage legal.
Marina Theodori, who attended the wedding told Buzzfeed in a statement, “This is a big step for all of us. Most of us dream of having a formal marriage, but in Russia it was not possible yet.
“For us it is the realisation of our dreams. Hopefully soon we will have more opportunities.”
Attendees also said that the registry office workers displayed a tolerant attitude towards the happy brides.
Unfortunately, the news was met with criticism from from LGBT rights opponent and politician Vitaly Milonov. He told BBC that the wedding was ”an ugly insult to millions of Russian families,” and is calling for the registry staff to be tried for criminal negligence.
“There are certain moral standards which it is vital to implement,” he added. “These mad people should be banned altogether from getting married.”
Despite the negative comments from Milonov, LGBT rights activist Andrew Nasonov, called the politician “a crazy person.”
He added, “Unfortunately, the majority of Russians don’t take such news seriously. They believe these people are freaks, so they laugh or insult them. They support Milonov. It’s very sad.
“But the fact that having such news, people start speaking about it, it starts the public debate, and this is good.”
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