Lesbian couple registers first same-sex marriage in Russia
Backlit lesbian couple close together outdoors (Shutterstock)

A lesbian couple tied the knot in Russia in a quiet ceremony seen as the first such marriage in the country where gay unions are illegal, activists told AFP Sunday.

The marriage on Friday went through because one of the women was born male but is now transgender and undergoing hormone therapy, said Anna Anisimova, an activist working with Vykhod, an LGBT rights group in Saint-Petersburg.

"The official registration by two women happened because one of them is a man according to the documents," she said. "Formally it was a wedding between a man and a woman but de-facto it was between two women."

"It was the first (LGBT wedding) in Russia. Both brides wore white dresses."

Online pictures from the wedding showed the smiling pair, one blonde, the other brunette, sporting lacy wedding gowns and holding bouquets as they signed official paperwork at a Russian civil registry office.

Officials at the registry did not attempt to stop the wedding, but a local lawmaker fumed that he will contest it.

"It's an insult against thousands of Russian families. I intend to call for its annulment," Vitaliy Milonov told AFP.

Milonov, a local lawmaker in the city, has been the most ardent lobbyist of Russia's notorious "gay propaganda" law before it went into effect.

The 2013 anti-gay law, which makes it illegal to distribute information about homosexuality to children, has been decried by the United Nations and seen by homosexuals as de-facto criminalisation of their orientation.

Russia has launched an offensive against the LGBT community, with the country's official rhetoric increasingly extolling "traditional" values and the Orthodox church.