Совместная жизнь (однополые браки)

by Don  

No discussion of marriage would be complete in the twenty-first century without addressing однополые браки same-sex marriages:

Однополые браки в 2005 г. узаконили Испания, Бельгия и Канада. Spain, Belgium and Canada legalized same sex marriages in 2005.

In the Russian context this immediately poses a conundrum because the most common marriage words are gender specific: the Russian word used to describe a man getting married can be morphologically paraphrased as “to wife himself upon,” and the word that describes a woman getting married can be morphologically paraphrased as “to go out husbanding after.” So a foreigner might be tempted to put together sentences like:

Борис женился на Олеге.Boris wifed himself on Oleg.
Лена вышла замуж за Анну.Lena went out husbanding after Anna.

Nope, the Russians won't say it that way. Well, a comedian on stage might, but certainly no one would ever say it with a straight face. The муж- and жен- roots produce too much gender dissonance. Actually that's a problem in English, too. My buddy John won't refer to his long-term partner Adam as his “husband” because “What does that make me, the wife?” Considering how well you cook, John, yeah, I think it does make you the wife. Get over it.

So how will the Russians refer to this? Not surprisingly, they can use the verbs that have no gender-specific roots, e.g. вступать/вступить в брак and заключать/заключить брак. What perhaps is surprising is that if both partners are the subject of the sentence, the verb жениться/пожениться mostly works, too. In other words all these phrases sound grammatically fine:

Хосе и Педро заключили брак в Мадриде.José and Pedro got married in Madrid.
Карен и Лиса вступили в брак в Торонто.Karen and Lisa got married in Toronto.
Борис и Олег поженились в Амстердаме.Boris and Oleg got married in Amsterdam.
Лена и Анна поженились в Брюсселе.Lena and Anna got married in Brussels.

Here are some examples from the Russian-language press:

Канада стала четвёртым государством, в котором геи и лесбиянки могут заключать браки. (source)Canada has become the fourth nation in which gays and lesbians can contract marriages.
В испанской армии впервые заключат брак два солдата-гея. (source)For the first time two gay soldiers will marry in the Spanish army.
Американская телеведущая Эллен Дедженерис объявила о своем намерении заключить брак с актрисой Порцией де Росси. (source)American TV-host Ellen DeGeneres has announced her intent to marry actress Portia de Rossi.

Other phrases that are used in discussing the issue of same-sex marriage are:

однополая любовьsame-sex love
однополая параsame-sex couple
домашнее партнёрствоdomestic partnership
брачная параmarried couple

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