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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: May 12, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Deputies in Russian Parliament Propose Ban on Transgender Marriages
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Deputies of the State Duma or parliament of Russia have proposed to ban marriages between people of the same gender as defined at birth in order to exclude transgendered persons, reported.

Anatoly Zhuravlev of United Russia, and Dmitry Gorovtsov and Anatoly Greshevnikov of Just Russia submitted the draft amendments to the Family Code under Art. 114, "circumstances that prevent the contracting of marriage."

The deputies also said that if transgendered persons were allowed to marry, this could have negative consequences "including the acquiring of the right to adopt a child."

The draft law appears to be driven by a high-profile case in St. Petersburg where on November 7, 2014, a woman and a transgender male in the process of changing his gender to female were able to register their marriage. Authorities found no legal grounds to prevent the marriage.

Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova were registered at the Palace of Weddings No. 4, say LGBT activists in St. Petersburg. Irina is a biological male in the process of changing her gender, they said. As an activist told Interfax:

"They were registered because Irina came to the ZAGS [marriage bureau] with a male passport. She also had a notice that Irina is transgender, and that this is an illness under which a person requires a medical change of their gender."

Currently the conditions that exclude marriage in Russia under Art. 14 are: if one of the parties is already married; between close relative; between an adopter and adoptee; or if the prospective parties are pronounced unfit due to psychiatric illness. Art. 12 of the law already specifies that marriage is between a man and a woman.

In an explanatory memo to the draft, the deputies say they want to add a fifth article to the law "connected with the indefensibility of marital relations from a situation emerging in connection with the change of gender of a person as defined at birth."

The deputies also explain that the law on civil acts allows Russians the right to register civil acts and to change their passport and birth certificate in the event their gender is changed. In this way, a transgendered person could get around laws against same-sex marriage, say the deputies.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick