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02:00 GMT +3 hours21 December 2014
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Russia

Moscow court upholds refusal to register same-sex couple

Russia
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A Moscow court upheld on Tuesday city authorities' refusal to allow a lesbian couple to marry saying same-sex marriages are illegal in Russia.

MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court upheld on Tuesday city authorities' refusal to allow a lesbian couple to marry saying same-sex marriages are illegal in Russia.

A registry office in the capital denied the couple registration in May saying a "marriage in Russia is a union of a man and woman." The women appealed the refusal.

Homosexuality is no longer a criminal offense in Russia, but there is little public support for gay rights.

The couple, Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko, said there is no ban on same-sex marriages in the Russian Constitution and family law. They also cited the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects same-sex marriages.

Fedotova-Fet and Shipitko have sought legal recognition of their rights in Russia, but will fly to Toronto, where they will marry on October 23. Same-sex marriages are legal in Canada.

The city of Moscow has never allowed a gay pride parade or rights demonstration, which the mayor has called "satanic."

The previous September 9 hearing was postponed until October 6 after the plaintiffs failed to appear in court. The couple later said they were held up in traffic.