Topic: Gay Propaganda Ban in Russia
MOSCOW, August 10 (RIA Novosti)
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A city councilor in St. Petersburg has accused U.S. pop star Madonna of violating a controversial local law banning "homosexual propaganda" during her concert there.
Vitaly Milonov, the author of the law, said the city's "public organizations" will take either the singer or gig organizers to court.
"We have video footage showing there were 12-year-old children there," Milonov, who belongs to the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, told journalists.
But the organizers PMI group said the tickets clearly stated those under 18 were not advised to attend the concert.
During her show in St. Petersburg on Thursday, Madonna told her fans that homosexuals had the same rights as anyone elese to be treated with dignity and tolerance.
She also took off her shirt to reveal the words "No Fear" written across her back.
The law, signed by St. Petersburg's governor in March, makes it a crime to "disseminate homosexual propaganda" to minors.
It stipulates fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($160) for individuals, 50,000 rubles ($1,600) for officials and up to 500,000 rubles ($16,000) for organizations that violate it. Several politicians and church figures have called for the legislation to be passed at the 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.
Madonna used her Moscow concert on August 7 to speak out in support of three members of the all-female punk group Pussy Riot, on trial for hooliganism.
Representatives of St. Petersburg non governmental organizations on Friday filed a claim to police in which they demanded that Madonna be acknowledged a person who has broken the anti-homosexual propaganda law, the press service of Viltaly Milonov said.
The text of the claim said that many underage children have been present at the pop star’s concert and viewed many symbols of the LGBT community that the pop star used during the gig.
The PMI company that organized Madonna’s gig said are going to sue Milonov, saying that his supporters have illegally captured photos and video during the concert without asking a permission to do so.
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