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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.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.