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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Denies Lesbian Couple's Request to Wed

APIrina Fedotova-Fet, right,and Irina Shipitko reacting outside a court room after a hearing in Moscow, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009.

A Russian court on Tuesday threw out a request by a lesbian couple to force a registry office to marry them, a court spokeswoman said.

Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko had asked the Tverskoi District Court to overrule a decision by a registry office which refused to endorse their marriage in May. It quoted Russian laws which describes a marriage as a "union between a woman and a man."

"The judge refused their request," spokeswoman Alexandra Berezina said without giving further details.

Although post-Soviet Russia no longer prosecutes homosexuals as criminals and many high-profile Russians manifest their same-sex alliances, gays and lesbians remain public outcasts.

In the past few years, Moscow authorities have consistently banned gay parades, describing them as an offence and a threat to public order.

A bid by Fedotova-Fet and Shipitko to register their marriage, the latest in a string of similar failed attempts, has been aimed at changing public perception of homosexuality in Russia.

"We want recognition of our relationship by society and the state. We are a family already, we live together and share household chores," Shipitko said. "We also would like to have children. That is why we want legal recognition of our union."

Nikolai Alexeyev, a longtime Russian gay rights activist who is serving as the women's lawyer, told reporters that they plan to fight the ruling.

"We understand quite well that it is a long road that must be taken before such unions will be recognized. But I have no doubt this recognition will come," he said.

The couple told reporters after the court trial they were planning to marry in Canada on Oct. 23. It was not clear if they were planning to appeal against the Tuesday's ruling in a higher court.

(AP, Reuters)