The words for marriage are clearly gender-linked in Russian.

I'm guessing that for two women, you'd say "Она женилась на ней / Она женат." Correspondingly, I'd think that for two men it would be "Он вышел замуж за него / Он замужем"?

But what would correspond to "Они поженились" and "Они женаты" for two men?

Is this correct? Is it idiomatic? What is a better way to say this?

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    ""Она женился на ней / Она женат." - wrong, ungrammatical. Она is feminine. "Он вышел замуж за него / Он замужем" - again looks wrong, unnatural.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 6:35
  • 2
    "Они поженились" is probably the best choice. Also you can use phrases with "брак" ("Они заключили брак", "Он в браке", "Она в браке"). Maybe some new developments will happen in future. I'd refrain from making any predictions. Since two partners in the same sex marriage by no means play traditional roles of a "husband" and a "wife", the traditional "женился" and "вышла замуж" are inapplicable. Or they must expand their meaning. I don't know what may happen :)
    – Shady_arc
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 6:50
  • I would go with using "брак" as well, it sounds gender-neutral.
    – Vilmar
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 7:28

4 Answers 4


Usually it's said

они заключили брак/брачный союз/связали себя узами брака

This is the way used by News Sites, Agencies and so on.

Your last two variants sound strange and therefore are not used.


First of all, it's somewhat pointless to ask what are correct and idiomatic ways to speak of same-sex marriage in Russian. There are none.

That said, while you definitely cannot жениться на someone who's male, I don't think the expressions они поженились and они женаты, where both spouses are the subject, are necessarily precluded by their etymology from applying to two men — there's never been a problem with the word девственник for a male virgin. Still, that's just theorising. One way or another, when you discuss the subject in Russian you'll have to improvise.

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    There are none in Russia, but still, we live in a global community, and this kind of marriage might be reported in local news in Russian, for example.
    – Vilmar
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 12:58
  • @Vilmar Certainly. Is that enough on its own to create a shared perception of particular expressions being "correct" and "idiomatic"? I'm far from sure. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 13:19
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    True, but I am inclined to think that with the presence of the gender-neutral "брак" people already the expressions they need to convey their thoughts - однополые браки, они заключили брак. The only thing is that we can't say that a particular person married another person of the same sex in a usual way - он заключил брак requires an object, while the usual gender-specific он поженился can be used without one.
    – Vilmar
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 13:31
  • There's also он вступил в брак, no object required, while пожениться (as opposed to жениться) is said of two people. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 13:49
  • Whoops, need more coffee, making stupid mistakes here and there :)
    – Vilmar
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 14:03

Masculine words have prevalence when generalizing. This is true, for example, for professions. "Врач" (masculine) is both male and female, while "врачиха" (feminine) is vulgarism.

So "поженились" is correct.

"Выйти замуж" is also correct, but has stronger meaning of a "role" in a pair, which may be not adequate if partners are "universal".

Any term is expressing role, but "поженились" does this lesser, so it is more correct.


Оля женилась на Кате (slightly expressing Olya is active).

Оля жената (clear that she is lesbian).

Вася женился на Пете (slightly expressing Vasya is active).

Вася женат (not evident if homosexual or not).

Они поженились -- correct for men.

Они женаты -- correct for men.

Вася вышел замуж за Колю (strong expressing Kolya is active)

Вася вышел замуж (clear that he is gay and expressing is passive).


Она женилась на ней - sounds ok

Она вышла замуж за неё - hmm well, still ok

Он женился на нем - ok

Он вышел замуж за него - weird.

It seems a man cannot выйти замуж. And жениться is a general word "to marry" often applied to the both sexes ("они поженились").

  • 1
    Well, it is just your intuition still. I'd say "жениться" if the OBJECT of the verb is female and "выйти замуж" when the object is male. So lesbians "женятся", male gays "выходят замуж". "Пожениться" is not the same as "жениться", but still I'd prefer not to use it about male gays.
    – Viridianus
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 16:20

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