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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gay Activists Denied Right to Marry

ReutersEdvard Murzin, right, and Eduard Mishin at a registry office in Moscow on Tuesday.
Two Russian gay-rights activists were told that they cannot register their marriage, after applying for a marriage license at a Moscow registry office on Tuesday.

Eduard Mishin, editor of gay.ru and Kvir magazine, and Edvard Murzin, a rights activist and member of Bashkortostan's parliament, were told they could not register their marriage when they applied at Wedding Palace No. 4 at Butyrskaya Ulitsa in northern Moscow.

"We turned them down," said the palace's chief, Svetlana Tkachyova on Wednesday. "You have to understand there is the Family Code," she said, referring an article in the code stating marriage is between a man and a woman.

On Wednesday, police turned up at the gay.ru office and gave the web site a week to vacate its offices for improper use of the building in what Mishin said was a direct result of their challenge to the marriage laws.

Mishin and Murzin, who has previously campaigned for a change in the law, said that they plan to sue for gays' right to get married, and have vowed to take the case to the International Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, if necessary.

"We will continue the fight," said Mishin. Murzin, who is in fact heterosexual, said he had tried to marry Mishin in an effort to draw attention to discrimination against gays in Russia, where homosexuality was only decriminalized after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The forum boards on gay.ru were split Wednesday between voices of support and criticism.

"Lads, can you tell me why this is needed?" wrote one forum participant, who gave his name as Sergei. "You can take it so far that you can allow someone to register his relationship with a dog."