Archive for the ‘Irina Shipitko’ Category

Russia denied registering a Gay Group campaigning for Marriage Equality

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev

The Russian Ministry of Justice turned down the application of a group of gay and lesbian activists to register the first All Russia NGO dedicated to support the campaign for Same-Sex Marriage.

“Your organization cannot be registered on the basis that its aims contradict the law on NGOs and provisions of the family code which define marriage as a union between a man and a woman“ says the letter received by the board of the organization.

The board said today that “we asked today the Russian justice to reverse this illegal decision, and we will go all the way up the European Court of Human Rights if necessary”

‘Marriage Equality Russia’ is backed by a group of Moscow and St Petersburg LGBT groups as well as individuals, also heterosexuals.

The campaign is already running since last May when the group helped a lesbian couple to register their union in Moscow. After getting a denial from the Civil Registrar, the couple entered into Marriage last October in Toronto.

The couple is about to introduce an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights after the Russian justice twice upheld the denial.

One of the spouses, Irina Fedotova (Fet), a board member of ‘Marriage Equality Russia’ said about her participation in the organization:

“This campaign is not only about my marriage with Irina. We want to bring our contribution to help opening the way to marriage to other gays and lesbians and not only in Russia”.

Nikolai Alekseev, spokesman for ‘Marriage Equality Russia’ said:

“Russia is a country where you cannot hold a march in the streets if you openly advertize it as gay, and this is the same with registering an openly gay organization”

“We could probably succeed in registering a NGO and remain discreet on its aim or organize a march without applying it as a gay march, but there is simply no sense in staying in the closet. Only the fight for visibility gets you in the media and help with time to make more people open about us.”

“Knocking at each door in secret and quietly explain what is homosexuality is not going to take us anywhere in a country of 141 million”

Last October, a group of UN experts found that discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation is “systematic”.

Marriage Equality Russia

Logo of the organization available on line at: www.marriageequality.ru/en
Photos and videos of All Russia’s marriage campaign available on www.marriageequality.ru/en

Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko, Russian Lesbian Couple Just Married in Toronto by GayRussia.Ru.

The couple intends to start a legal battle to have their union recognized in Russia.

Despite all obsticles and legal restrictions in Russia, a lesbian couple entered into same-sex marriage in Toronto yesterday. Numerous media and local activists were present at the ceremony during which Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko exchanged woes.

The wedding was held by Harvey Brownstone, a well-known openly gay judge at the family court of northern Toronto. The newly wed couple received their marriage certificate which they intend to use upon their return to Russia to have their Canadian marriage also recognized in their home country.

The couple together with their lawyer and organiser of Moscow Gay Pride Nikolai Alekseev as well as local activists hosted a press conference at the Toronto City Hall before the ceremony during which Canadian gay activists spoke about their struggle for marriage equality stressing the importance of supporting similar movements in other countries, including Russia. They compared the fight for same sex marriage in Russia with a similar campaign which started in Canada two decades ago.

After the press conference, Toronto Mayor David Miller congratulated Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko and thanked the couple for having chosen Toronto for their marriage. Later he wrote in his Twitter blog: “Just met Irena and Irena from russia here to get married; then going home to fight for human rights. Well done women, well done”.

Mayor Miller commented: “They’re so happy you can feel their happiness. And what a great statement from our city that we can lead the world in human rights and that people will come to Toronto to seek equal treatment and respect and joy and love”.

On Friday night dozens of people attended the wedding reception which was held in a restaurant of the gay village of Toronto. During the party, the audience watched pictures of the couple’s attempt to register their marriage in Moscow last May, as well as a video footage of this year’s Slavic Gay Pride in Moscow.

Nikolai Alekseev said on Friday: “We are delighted with the warm welcome in this wonderful country and in this stunning city of Toronto. Even though it is not my marriage, this is a day I will hardly forget. We are grateful to the Canadian LGBT organization EGALE for helping us in organizing the wedding of our Irinas in Toronto”.

Organizer of the Moscow gay Pride stressed: “Many in Russia, including in the LGBT community, think that same sex marriage is impossible but the fight for marriage equality in Russia today is an investment in a democratic and free future of the country. We know that we will get it one day and this is the reason why we have to start now”.

“I salute the courage of Irina and Irina who are showing today that there are no barriers to love. They give a great message of hope”.

Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko explained during a press conference after the registration of their marriage, that they intend to fight to have their marriage recognized in Russia. They stressed that “This is only the beginning of a long journey of recognition of family rights for same-sex couples in Russia.”

The couple explained that “We get a lot of mails and messages of congratulations from gays and lesbians in Russia who also want to have their union recognized but most of them are not able to fight for their rights. We are confident that our struggle will soon benefit to them”.

On Saturday, Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko will celebrate their union in Niagara Falls – a place famous with honeymooners.

On May 12, the Tverskoi Registry Office refused to register the marriage of Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko arguing that under the Family Code a marriage can only be registered between a man and a woman. A judge of the Tverskoi district court upheld the refusal on October 6. The couple appealed the decision and further announced that they are ready to take their case up to the European Court of Human Rights.

GayRussia.Ru

More photos of the wedding:
Photos from the ceremony presided by Judge Harvey Brownstone:
Photos with the Mayor of Toronto David Miller who congratulated the girls in his Twitter:
Video report from Toronto Sun:
Video report from City TV:

Russian Lesbian Couple, Irina Fedotova and Irina Shipitko, Denied Marriage License

IrinaFedotova-Irina -Shipitko

The attempt to marry went incredibly well and drew a large crowd of journalist, even more than for the Pride Issue. LGBT journalists can use the photo on the below link with copyright “GayRussia.Ru“. More photos will come on GayRussia.Ru. The couple will wed in Toronto, Canada in June. The denial received today will be appealed in Russian court up to Strasbourg.
http://www.gayrussia.ru/events/detail.php?ID=13432

Nikolai Alexeyev

Russian lesbian couple denied marriage license

By Mansur Mirovalev – 12 May 2009

MOSCOW (AP) — Supporters considered it a historic moment: two radiant women applied for a marriage license in a Moscow government office, claiming to be the first same-sex female couple to try to marry in Russia.

But a flustered-looking official denied their application Tuesday, a move that gay rights activists say symbolizes the refusal of many Russian officials to recognize the rights of the country’s gay and lesbian communities. Registry office director Svetlana Potamoshneva, seemingly embarrassed, handed them a written rejection and said Russian law recognizes only marriages between a man and a woman.
Irina Fedotova and Irina Shipitko said they would not give up.

“We won’t stop in midstream,” Fedotova told journalists later, saying she and her partner plan to get married in Canada. She said Russia recognizes marriages registered abroad, thus allowing the couple to formalize their relationship.

The event was the first of two this week that will put the issue of gay rights — which many Russians regard as controversial — on the public stage in Moscow.

Fedotova and Shepitko sought to marry ahead of a gay pride parade Saturday, scheduled to coincide with the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. Gay rights activists hope the media covering the event also will focus on their cause.

Radio Netherlands reported Monday that the Dutch singer Gordon would boycott the contest if parade is broken up violently.

Moscow authorities have banned the march, and religious and nationalist groups said Tuesday they have asked for permission to hold a counter-demonstration in central Moscow.

“The gay parade is … an act of spiritual terrorism,” said Mikhail Nalimov, chairman of the Union of Orthodox Christian Youth.

His deputy, Dmitry Terekhov, said the parade was in part aimed at converting people to homosexuality. “This must be stopped by radical methods, but without violence naturally,” he said.

In some countries, gays have won increasing acceptance — including the right to marry — but in many nations of the former Communist bloc homophobia remains rampant.
Decades of official persecution of Russian gays ended in 1993 with the decriminalization of homosexuality, but opposition to gay rights remains widespread. Russian spiritual leaders have claimed that homosexuality threatens the country’s traditional values.

There are no official estimates of how many gays and lesbians live in Russia, and only a few big cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg have gay nightclubs and gyms.

Russian gay rights movement leader Nikolai Alexeyev said several gay male couples have attempted to wed since the mid-1990s, but officials rejected those efforts.

In 2006, gay activists trying to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just outside the Kremlin wall were arrested by riot police and harangued by religious and ultranationalist group members.

Last year, at least one gay rights activist was assaulted during a small protest in Moscow while uniformed police officers stood by and watched.

Dancer and singer Boris Moiseyev, one of Russia’s few openly gay pop stars, said in March he received death threats from Muslim activists. His extravagant shows have been banned in several Russian cities, and the Orthodox Church condemned him for “propagating sodomy and sin.”

Meanwhile, despite their rejection of a marriage license in Moscow on Tuesday, Fedotova and Shepitko — wearing suits and bow ties and holding flowers — held hands and kissed. They said they would continue to fight for recognition of gay rights in Russia.

Fedotova, a 30-year-old public relations consultant, said she has lived through years of threats and intimidation and wants to a marriage equal to that of heterosexual couples.
She said she met Shipitko, a 32-year-old fashion designer, five years ago and they have both “reached marriage age for sure.”

Associated Press writer Peter Leonard contributed to this report.

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