An activist in Russia has claimed that authorities in the notoriously anti-LGBT+ country have recognised his same-sex marriage through a legal loophole.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Russia, and the country’s “gay propaganda” law prohibits the promotion of homosexuality.
But a legal loophole in the country’s family law has led to Russian authorities unintentionally recognising the marriage of Igor Kochetkov and Kir Fyodorov, The Moscow Times reports.
Because of the loophole, the Russian tax service was reportedly forced to grant Kochetkov a tax deduction on his husband’s behalf – a benefit commonly enjoyed by married couples.
A loophole in the Family Code of Russia forced the state to recognise their same-sex marriage.
On the third anniversary of the couple’s marriage in the United States, Kochetkov posted on Facebook about the tax service’s recognition of their marriage.
“Today is a beautiful day!” he wrote. “Exactly three years ago, Igor and I officially became husbands.
“But I wanted to tell you about something else,” he said.
Russia, in the face of its official institutions, recognised the same-sex marriage.
Kochetkov explained that he and his husband studied the country’s Family Code and found that, while it did not allow for same-sex marriages, it also did not prohibit them.
He said the country’s Family Code recognises marriages that took place abroad – which includes Kochetkov and his husband.
“No recognition procedure is required, you can simply start enjoying family rights on the basis of marriage documents,” he wrote.
The country granted them tax benefits without asking any questions.
The couple decided to put the loophole to the test to see if they could force the Russian government to recognise their marriage.
“At the end of last year Igor insured my life, after which we collected a package of documents and sent it to the tax to receive social deductible for the spouse.
“We were waiting for a refusal after which we could start suing for recognition of our marriage in Russia. And completely unexpectedly, the Federal Tax Service approved this deductible to us and has already transferred money.”
He added: “Which means that Russia, in the face of its official institutions, recognised the same-sex marriage.”
This is not the first time a same-sex couple has received legal recognition in Russia. In 2018, Yevgeny Voytsekhovsky and Pavel Stotsko had their marriage, which also took place abroad, recognised through the same legal loophole.
However, they were later forced to flee the country after anti-LGBT+ activists threatened them. They later vowed to never return to Russia.
The latest legally recognised union comes just a week before Russia will vote on a series of constitutional amendments which would allow Vladimir Putin to remain president until 2036 and could also see marriage defined as being a union between a man and a woman.