Madonna Sued for Backing Gay Rights

Russian activists say she promoted homosexuality to minors

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 19, 2012 1:26 PM CDT | Updated Aug 19, 2012 1:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – The cost for promoting gay rights in Russia? Nearly $10.5 million, if a lawsuit against Madonna makes any headway. Anti-gay activists in Russia sued the singer Friday for asking fans at a concert to wave pro-gay pink armbands she had distributed, the AP reports. The suit claims Madonna violated a new Russia law that forbids the promotion of homosexuality to minors—some of whom were apparently at the recent show.

A lawyer representing the nine activists says they are not stuck in the Middle Ages: "No one is burning anyone at the stake or carrying out an Inquisition," said Alexander Pochuyev. "Modern civilization requires tolerance and respect for different values." But Madonna has upset Russians in other ways—like stomping on an Orthodox cross onstage and supporting the punk band Pussy Riot. After the band was sentenced to two years in prison, Madonna asked "all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment."

U.S. singer Madonna performs during her concert at concert Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.
U.S. singer Madonna performs during her concert at concert Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.   (AP Photo/ Alexander Demianchuk, Pool)
U.S. singer Madonna performs during her concert at concert Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.
U.S. singer Madonna performs during her concert at concert Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.   (AP Photo / Olga Maltseva, Pool)
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