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Legal Loophole Allows Lesbian Couple to Get Married in St. Petersburg

A lesbian couple have wed in St. Petersburg by using a legal loophole. All_about_savo / Instagram

A lesbian couple has wed in Russia by using a legal loophole to circumvent the country's ban on LGBT marriage, prompting outrage by a gay-bashing local lawmaker who threatened to get the marriage annulled.

The wedding was allowed to proceed because one of the brides who tied the knot at a registry office in St. Petersburg on Friday was born male. She is undergoing hormone therapy and identifies herself as transsexual, but her passport still identifies her as male, Russian media reported.

Municipal legislature deputy Vitaly Milonov, who is known for his strong opposition to LGBT rights, said he protested the "depravity" to the registry office, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.

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"They approached the issue formally, looking at passports instead of people," he was quoted as saying. "I warned the director that this is criminal negligence. They should have called nurses from Kashchenko [psychiatric hospital] with straightjackets and put the newlyweds into separate wards instead of a marital bed."

He said he would seek to get the marriage annulled and demanded that St. Petersburg prosecutors intervene to protect millions of Russian families from having to suffer similar "horrible insults," Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.

Photos of the wedding posted by state-run broadcaster RT showed two young brides — whom Russian media identified as Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova — wearing white wedding gowns and smiling as they signed their marriage papers and posed for pictures together with friends and a cheerful-looking registry official.

One of the couple's bridesmaids, Marina Teodory, told the FlashNord news site that staff at the civil registry office "reacted tolerantly to the girls' wish" to get married.

Earlier this year, another marriage between two brides took place in Moscow — the country's first such known wedding. One of the brides, who wore floor-length gowns during the ceremony, was a man.

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