British consulates to allow same-sex marriages in Russia, 22 other countries

LONDON — Same-sex marriages can take place in the British consulates of more than 20 countries where the ceremonies are currently not legal, including in Russia, Azerbaijan, Serbia and Hungary.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, London
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, London

Britain’s Foreign Office has opened the doors of its missions to British nationals and their partners who wish to wed but are unable to under foreign laws, reports the Telegraph.

Chris Bryant, the former Foreign office minister and openly gay Labour MP, said he hoped the move would be “celebrated” in countries like Russia, where gays often face prejudice and persecution.

“Part of the Foreign Office’s job is to export British values abroad,” said Bryant.

The marriages, however, would not be not recognized under foreign country’s laws, meaning that same-sex couples would still be denied many of the benefits of marriage.

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Vitaly Milonov, a St. Petersburg lawmaker who spearheaded Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, dismissed the new initiative because it did not affect Russian citizens.

“The British consulates can do whatever they want,” Milonov told The Moscow Times. “They can marry monkeys and register perverts for all I care.”

In the United Kingdom, same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales on March 29, and will become legal in Scotland by the end of the year.

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