A gay couple from Sochi has fled to Argentina to marry and escape Russia's homophobic rule.
Alexander (47) and Dimitri (35) were reportedly married today (25 February) at 11:30 am in the Buenos Aires civil registry on the street Uruguay 753.
Upon calling the civil registry, GSN was told details of the marriage could not be confirmed nor denied over the phone, but the desk did confirm media cameras present in the lobby.
According to local media reports and the personal website of José María Di Bello, who with partner Alex Freyre is known as the first gay couple to marry in Argentina, the Sochi gay couple is also seeking asylum from Russia’s anti-gay laws. The couple is fleeing Russian state-sponsored homophobia and fears for their lives should they have to return.
Alexander and Dimitri have reportedly sought the help of Freyre and Di Bello for their role in furthering marriage equality in Argentina.
The Russian gay couple recently celebrated a non-legal ceremony in Thailand, and came to Argentina since the country allows foreign couples to wed within its borders.
In 2011, Argentina became the first Spanish-speaking country in South and Central America to legalize same-sex marriage, and subsequently approved the marriage of foreign couples regardless of their nationality or sexual orientation.
This move sparked an international debate that drew into context the complications of governments recognizing same-sex marriages conducted outside their borders.
While same-sex foreigners can legally wed in Argentina, once they return to their home countries where same-sex marriage isn’t recognized, like Russia, their union is no longer legally binding and they could lose all rights as a married couple.
As such, if the couple were to return Russia, they fear they would suffer under Putin’s laws banning ‘homosexual propaganda’.
In a statement on Di Bello’s website, his partner Freyre wrote: ‘Love is more powerful than homophobia. These two courageous men are raising their voice in defense of their own rights, and in the defense of millions of Russian men and women who have been deemed ‘illegal’.
Now Alex and [Dimitri] will be protected…’