A lesbian wedding was celebrated in public for the first time in Kazakhstan.
The wedding between two women, Karolina and Kristina, was held in Karaganda in the northeast of the central Asian country, Eurasia reports.
The celebration did not include a visit to the registrary office, as same-sex marriage is illegal in the former Soviet state.
Photographs from the wedding were posted on Kazakstan photojournalism website Vox Populi, showing Karolina in a white wedding dress and Kristina in a pale blue suit. Friends were there as witnesses but the couple’s parents declined to attend.
The couple have already lived together for six months and want to conceive children via IVF.
Readers left over 50 comments on the Vox Populi website that were mostly unsupportive, with some saying the couple should be sent to Mars and others saying that they shouldn’t be allowed to have children.
Kazakstan LGBT rights campaign Vladimir Kornakovsky planned the wedding.
‘Many of our guys and girls are devoured by loneliness,’ said Kornakovsky to Vox Populi. ‘But they are strong and cope with it.’
LGBT people in Kazakstan face a lot of social and legal discrimination.
A 2010 report from the Soros Foundation titled Unacknowledged and Unprotected: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Kazakstan, found that one in four LGBT people in the country had been victims of physical or psychological violence.
In March a study showed that Kazakstan was one of the countries in the world where gay porn internet searches are the most popular – which are consistently the countries where it is most difficult to live open gay lives.