Topic: Gay Propaganda Ban in Russia
MOSCOW, July 4 (RIA Novosti)
A Russian lawmaker who authored a controversial law banning "homosexual propaganda" has threatened to fine U.S. pop star Madonna if she undresses at her upcoming performance in St. Petersburg, the tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.
"We will warn the organizers of the concert that everything should be decent. Otherwise they will face the harsh laws of St. Petersburg," Vitaly Milonov, who belongs to the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, was quoted as saying.
"I heard that at the concerts on this tour she pulled off her tights - we will not have the like here," he added.
Madonna flashed her bottom at a gig in Rome last month, just days after slipping her nipple out in Istanbul.
The veteran singer vowed in March to use her St. Petersburg show - set for August 9 - to "speak up" against the law, which makes it illegal to "disseminate homosexual propaganda" among minors.
"I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community, to support the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed. I don't run away from adversity. I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity," Madonna wrote on her Facebook account.
The bill, which was signed by St. Petersburg's governor in March, stipulates fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($170) for individuals, 50,000 rubles for officials and up to 500,000 rubles for organizations that violate it. Several politicians and church figures have called for the legislation to be passed at federal level.
Homosexuality was only decriminalized in Russia in 1993, and anti-gay sentiments, including among officials, remain strong. In 2007, former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov described attempts to hold a Gay Parade in the capital as "satanic." There has never been a sanctioned Gay Parade in Russia.
According to a 2010 survey by Russia's independent Levada Center polling agency, 74 percent of respondents said gays and lesbians were "amoral" and "mentally defective," while only 45 percent said they should enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals.
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