A same-sex couple have found the ultimate loophole to get married in Russia.
Sofia Grozovsky and Lynne Reid got married on 19 March at the Tagansky registry office in Moscow. Over 40 friends and family were there to celebrate the wedding.
How did they do it? As Grozovsky, the bride in white, is legally regarded as male, the civil registry office had no choice but to hand over a marriage certificate.
It was not easy.
First, they had arrived at the registry office wearing rainbow ribbons, flags and ties as a protest for LGBTI rights in Russia.
Reid’s mom was also there to show her support.
At first, the registry office refused to let them in as they were a same-sex couple. Grozovsky was told she would be denied entry unless she was dressed in a similar way to her passport. While Russian lawmakers have planned a bill to enforce people to wear ‘traditional gendered attire’ when they get married, this is not yet the law.
Police were called to charge the protestors with ‘hooliganism’. Police also told protestors that one of the staff members had a child with them in the office. They attempted to force the friends and family to remove their rainbow accessories as it could be considered ‘gay propaganda’.
Employees barricaded themselves in the room and refused to open the door. After lengthy negotiations, they agreed to remove their Pride flags but not their rainbow clothes in exchange for a marriage certificate. None of the guests, not even the newlyweds’ parents, were allowed to witness the couple receive the certificate.
But ultimately, the registry office couldn’t stop them from their legal right of obtaining a marriage certificate. They exchanged rings in front of friends and family.
‘We were going to wait until the day same-sex marriage became legal in Russia,’ Reid said. ‘But it is still extremely complicated for transgender people to change their documents. If the woman who I love has a passport that says she’s still a man, then it means there was nothing stopping us from doing this.
‘I sincerely hope, in the process, any homophobes burst with impotent rage.’
Take that Russia.