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Russia court rejects appeal to recognize same-sex marriage

[JURIST] A Moscow court on Thursday rejected an appeal of a lower court ruling that denied recognition of a marriage between two women. The couple, Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shepitko, applied for a marriage license in March, but were refused by the registry. The women appealed to the Tverskoi District Court in Moscow, arguing that nothing in the Russian Constitution [text] prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. That court rejected their appeal [JURIST report] in October, and the appeals court affirmed that ruling Thursday, stating that Russia only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman [Reuters report]. Counsel for the two women stated that they plan to appeal the case [RIA Novosti report] to the European Court of Human Rights [official website] for a violation of Article 14 [Itar-Tass report] of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF].

In Europe, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, and Sweden [JURIST reports] all allow same-sex marriages, while several other European countries allow partnerships with limited rights. Earlier this month, the Portuguese Parliament approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage after Portugal's high court ruled [JURIST reports] in August that the right to a same-sex marriage was not present in the country's constitution. In June, Ireland passed a bill that gave limited rights to same-sex partners. Last year, the European Court of Justice, spurred by a complaint from a German man, ruled that same-sex partners have a right to survivor pensions [JURIST report].

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