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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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New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.