Two Russian lesbian activists who were refused the right to marry in Moscow have finally tied the knot in Toronto, Canada.

Irina Fedotova-Fet and Irina Shipitko exchanged their vows on Friday at a ceremony officiated by openly gay judge Harvey Brownstone.

The couple unsuccessfully applied to get married at the Moscow registry office in May to much publicity. A legal challenge in August to show that Russian law does not forbid such a union also failed.

The women, along with Moscow Gay Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev, held a press conference before the ceremony in Toronto.

According to the couple, “this is only the beginning of a long journey of recognition of family rights for same-sex couples in Russia.” The women said that intend to take their marriage certificate back home and demand that the Russian authorities recognise their union. They may also take their case to the European Human Rights Commission.

Toronto’s mayor, David Miller, congratulated the women and later commented on Twitter: “Just met Irena and Irena from Russia here to get married; then going home to fight for human rights. Well done women, well done”.

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