Anti-gay Russian activists sue Madonna for $10 mln

ST PETERSBURG, Russia Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:17am IST

U.S. singer Madonna performs on stage during her MDNA tour at St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

U.S. singer Madonna performs on stage during her MDNA tour at St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, August 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - A group of Russian anti-gay activists sued American pop star Madonna for $10 million on Friday, saying she had insulted their feelings when she spoke out for gay rights at a concert in St Petersburg last week.

Performing in black lingerie with the words "No Fear" scrawled on her back, Madonna attacked a city law adopted in March that imposed fines for spreading homosexual "propaganda". She had earlier called the law a "ridiculous atrocity".

Homosexuality, punished with jail terms in the Soviet Union, was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, but much of the gay community remains underground as prejudice runs deep.

"She (Madonna) had been warned with words that she should behave in line with the law and she ignored it. So we will speak in the language of money," said Darya Dedova, one of the 10 activists who filed the lawsuit in a St Petersburg court.

"Of course, it is difficult to measure moral damages and suffering but maybe people who earn money regardless of moral rules will better understand this," Dedova said. She added if they won the case, the money would be sent to orphanages.

"Maybe someone does not see the link but after Madonna's concert maybe some boy becomes gay, some girl becomes lesbian, fewer children are born as a result and this big country cannot defend its borders - for me it causes moral suffering," said Alexei Kolotkov, another of the activists who filed the suit.

The St Petersburg propaganda law is the model for a bill that has been submitted to the national parliament but has not yet faced a vote. Critics say they fear it could be used to clamp down on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, for example by barring gay rights demonstrations.

In Moscow, gay rights suffered a blow when an appeal court upheld a lower court's ruling that found city authorities had acted legally when they rejected applications from activists to hold a gay rights march every year for the next 100 years.

Attempts to hold gay rights rallies in the Russian capital have often ended in arrests and clashes with anti-gay activists.

In May, dozens of people were detained in Moscow after Russian Orthodox activists broke up two gay rights marches, throwing water and shouting prayers.

(Writing by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Pravin Char)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

ENTERTAINMENT SHOWCASE

Director Jolie

Director Jolie

Angelina Jolie to direct Richard Leakey biopic 'Africa'.  Full Article 

A Minute With

A Minute With

Jane Fonda on learning from the young comic set   Full Article 

Loren turns 80

Loren turns 80

Sophia Loren, Italy's national icon, turns 80 with book of memoirs.  Full Article 

Breakout Star

Breakout Star

Burberry's first Indian model Neelam Gill conquers fashion world.  Video 

Ig Nobel

Ig Nobel

Banana peel study, ugly art research win Ig Nobel spoof awards  Full Article 

Subdued Role

Subdued Role

Reese Witherspoon finds lessons in 'The Good Lie'.   Full Article 

Best-Dressed

Best-Dressed

Singer Taylor Swift leads People Magazine's best-dressed list.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage