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American media tends to view Russia as rabidly anti-LGBTQ, but this week two huge things happened in the Eur-Asian country: First, its government recognized a foreign same-sex marriage between two men and also made it much easier for trans people to change their legally recognized gender, even easier than it is in many U.S. states. In Russia gay marriage and new trans rights are on the march?!? What’s going on over there?!??
What?!? A Russia gay marriage??!
A same-sex couple, Eugene Wojciechowski and Pavel Stotsko, got married in Copenhagen, Denmark on Jan. 4, 2018. When they returned to Russia, a Moscow civil employee stamped their passports with an official government confirmation of their marriage. Much to the two men’s surprise, the employee didn’t ask “superfluous” questions and the entire thing took less than five minutes.
According to Pink News, Article 14 of Russia’s Family Code states that the government recognizes foreign marriages as long as they don’t occur between close relatives, adoptive parents, adopted children, an already married spouse or one that’s unable to make decisions based on severe mental illness.
However, a line in the law says that valid marriages require “the mutual voluntary consent of the man and woman entering in marriage,” leaving the legal status of Wojciechowski and Stotsko somewhat unclear. When a local TV news reporter asked the Moscow office for clarification, they didn’t clear up the confusion.
A step forward on transgender rights in Russia
On Monday, the Russian Ministry of Health signed an order to create a protocol for giving trans people a medical certificate indicating their gender identity. Until now, the country lacked a consistent guideline for handling gender changes on trans government documents, leaving the decision whether to officially change a person’s gender entirely on the whims of individual government registry workers.
The new protocol should take place by February of this year will allow trans people to change their gender even if they have kids and have not undergone any medical transitional procedures. This means it’s easier to make a change to your gender on government documents easier in Russia than it is in many U.S. states.
Featured Image via Pavel Stotsko‘s Facebook