Recently, The Goldwater reported on a gay Russian couple who stumbled upon a legal loophole that would legitimize gay marriage in the eyes of the Russian government.
The two men found that after they married abroad that their marriage was recognized as legitimate by the Moscow civil center when they reentered the country, but since going public with the incident they were forced to flee Russia under death threats.
<a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/16949-Russia-Accidentally-Recognizes-Gay-Marriage">Russia Accidentally Recognizes Gay Marriage</a>
Aside from receiving death threats, Pavel Stotsko and Yevgeny Voitsekhovsky say their electricity and internet were reportedly turned off by plainclothes police. Homosexuality is not illegal in Russia but gay marriage is. Stotsko posted pictures of their passports with the marriage stamps online sparking widespread outrage in the country.
A Russian MP named Vitaly Milonov is the author of Russia's law banning so-called gay propaganda and said the marriage stamps had no legal validity. Milonov also referred to the couple as a pair of "stinking goats".
According to LGBT rights groups, homophobic attacks have rocketed in Russia since President Vladimir Putin approved the controversial law outlawing the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle to minors.
The interior ministry of Russia announced the men's passports would be annulled and the clerk who stamped them would be fired. The couple is also facing a fine for defacing their passports, something the men say they never did.
One of the threats Stotsko received was on Facebook from a person who vowed to "rip off his head", his mother also received anonymous telephone calls promising she would lose her job if she did not convince her son to retract his statement about the marriage stamps.
Russian LGBT Network for gay rights said, "Police blocked the exit from the apartment where the couple lives, as well as prevented friends and acquaintances from coming to support them." They say the police also told the couple they could not guarantee their safety.
Igor Kochetov, an LGBT rights activist said the pair have given their internal passports to police on their lawyer's advice and left the country. "They were in real danger," Kochetov said.
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