Pop megastar Madonna has been summoned to appear before a Russian court to face charges brought by anti-gay campaigners that she knowingly flouted St. Petersburg’s ban on gay propaganda and that, in so doing, injured and offended them.
According to reports, anti-gay campaigners in Russia have managed to obtain Madonna’s New York address and have issued her a summons to face charges that she, during an August concert in St. Petersburg, knowingly flouted the region’s ban on the promotion of homosexuality to minors. They are seeking as much as $10.5 million in damages.
The petitioners are demanding reparations from Madonna, the organizer of her concert and the concert hall where she played. According to Ria Novosti, petitioners claim “moral damages” stemming from “the open promotion of homosexuality” and are asking for $10.5 million in compensation.
“She insulted believers’ feelings, she promoted homosexuality when there were children at the concert and this is forbidden in St. Petersburg,” Darya Dedova of the pro-Kremlin group Trade Union of Russia Citizens, which backs the suit, is quoted as saying. “We, the residents of the cultural capital, suffered a colossal moral damage.”
There is of course nothing alleged about the fact Madonna aimed to defy the ban.
As Care2 reported at the time, Madonna urged the crowd during the August 9 concert to “show … love and appreciation to the gay community” and called on the crowd to wear the pink wristbands that had been handed out upon entry to show solidarity with Russia’s LGBT citizens. Madonna, speaking ahead of the concert, also made her intention to flout the ban quite clear.
But there is an interesting legal development in this case.
Russia’s Supreme Court recently decided that while the St. Petersburg ban on promoting “gay propaganda” to children is lawful, the ban’s once wide stipulations can only be applied in cases where children are proved to have been directly affected.
None of the anti-gay campaigners who attended the Madonna concert, presumably in order to be offended, are thought to have been underage. Furthermore, tickets for the concert reportedly contained a warning that all concert-goers must be over 18, therein establishing that Madonna could reasonably have thought she was addressing an adults-only crowd.
While Madonna may have intended to flout the ban, it may be that under the court’s recent clarification of the law she actually was within its stipulations. This, obviously, is quite apart from the absolutely ridiculous notion that one’s morals being offended should be grounds to sue someone for $10.5 million.
Human rights groups have become increasingly concerned over Russia’s orthodoxy and their attempts to re-criminalize homosexuality under the guise of protecting children. Indeed, a group recently started protesting a milk carton because it displays rainbow, which is clearly a homosexuality-promoting tool.
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