A Moscow court rejected on Thursday a lesbian couple's appeal against an earlier ruling upholding a registry office's refusal to register their marriage.
Irina Shepitko and Irina Fedotova-Fet attempted to get married in Russia in May 2009, but were turned away. Registry officials citied the Family Code that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The Moscow City Court "ruled to leave the October 6, 2009, decision of the Tverskoi Court intact and reject the appeal," the presiding judge said.
A lawyer acting for the plaintiffs said the ruling was predictable. "We were not surprised by the decision and plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights," Nikolai Alexeyev said.
He said the court in Strasbourg will examine a similar complaint from a same-sex couple from Austria in February, a case that could set a Europe-wide precedent in dealing with such cases.
The fashion entrepreneur and the PR specialist were reported to be the third same-sex couple denied registry in Russia, after four men before them.
The couple arrived at the wedding palace in downtown Moscow dressed in matching white and black trouser suits with bouquets of white roses, but they went away disappointed.
The couple married in Canada in October last year, and hope to have their Canadian marriage certificate recognized in Russia. Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, including for nonresidents, and Russia recognizes marriages performed abroad.
Gay rights activists have complained about repeated violations of their rights in Russia, where casual homophobia is rather widespread. Moscow authorities have prevented activists from holding gay pride events. Mayor Yury Luzhkov said he will never allow Moscow to host a gay parade, which he called "satanic."
MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti)