Russian court rules against lesbian couple

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(6 Oct 2009)
1. Wide exterior of Moscow’s Tverskoi district court
2. Close-up Russian and Moscow city flags
3. Wide interior of courtroom
4. Mid of lesbian couple Irina Shipitko (sitting) and Irina Fedotova-Fet
5. Close-up Fedotova-Fet’s hand on Shipitko’s shoulder
6. Cutaway Russian state emblem
7. Mid empty seats of judges
8. Wide of members of the public
9. Close-up judge’s hammer
10. Wide of couple leaving courthouse
11. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Irina Shipitko, lesbian woman at centre of court ruling:
“We want recognition of our relations by society and state. We are a family already, we live together and share household chores. We also would like to have children. That is why we want legal recognition of our union.”
12. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Irina Fedotova-Fet, lesbian woman at centre of court ruling:
“Our further actions? We are going to appeal against the decision in all the higher courts. Alongside with that, we are flying to Canada on October 22 to register marriage on October 23. After that we’ll demand recognition of a foreign marriage on the territory of the Russian Federation.”
13. Wide of couple with their lawyer Nikolai Alexeyev
14. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Nikolai Alexeyev, Lawyer:
“The issue is not about the court’s decision, which we had expected. We understand quite well that it is a long road that must be taken before such unions will be recognised. But I have no doubt this recognition will come.”
15. Wide of couple talking to journalists
A Moscow court on Tuesday ruled against two lesbians seeking to become Russia’s first legally married gay couple.
Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko said the Tverskoi District Court upheld a decision by the city’s civil registry that said Russian law defined marriage as between a woman and a man.
Shipitko said she wanted their relations recognised by “society and state”.
The couple plan to fight Tuesday’s ruling.
In the meantime, the two women are set to fly to Canada to marry on October 23 and then return to Russia, in a bid to force authorities to recognise the marriage.
Nikolai Alexeyev, a longtime Russian gay rights activist who is serving as the women’s lawyer, downplayed Tuesday’s court decision, saying the couple well understood their battle for recognition would be a “long road which must be taken”.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in the 1990s, but most Russians are vehemently opposed to any gay rights or openly gay demonstrations.

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