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In pictures: Kazakhstan's first gay wedding

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image captionWhat is believed to be Kazakhstan's first gay wedding has provoked strong reactions in the socially conservative country after pictures were published on the internet. The ceremony took place in the Northern industrial town of Karaganda.
image captionThe photos posted on the Kazakh Voxpopuli website show the couple doing all the things traditionally associated with a lavish Kazakh wedding ceremony, including a tour of local landmarks in a stretch limousine.
image captionSame-sex marriages are not recognised in Kazakhstan or any other Central Asian country, but Vox Populi says the couple - named as Karolina and Kristina and originally from the capital Astana- received a "special certificate" from the local gay club in Karaganda.
image captionThe wedding party met with curiosity and bewilderment as they toured the town. The pictures meanwhile have drawn some hostile reactions in social media, some calling the ceremony "degenerate" and warning same-sex marriages could lead to "demographic collapse".
image captionThe pair have said they hope to raise awareness of homosexual rights in the country. "We too want to experience the full happiness of getting married," they were quoted by Vox Populi. The couple's parents did not attend the ceremony.
image captionKarolina and Kristina's story has been one of the most read and debated on Kazakh social media sites. But amid the criticism, some voices wished the couple well. "Well done, brave girls!" read one posting. Vladimir Kornakovskiy of the Karaganda gay rights movement says there are 15,000 gay people in the town.

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