HRC Blog

Madonna Set to Challenge St Petersburg’s Anti-Gay Law

Despite pressure from both gay rights activists and anti-gay lawmakers, Madonna has made it clear that she will not cancel her August tour date in St. Petersburg.

The controversy centers on a new city law, effective March 11, prohibiting “the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors.” Violations carry hefty fines, and as ABC reports, many suspect the law will criminalize the very act of reading, writing or speaking about LGBT people.

Outrage over the “gay gag rule” has prompted direct appeals that Madonna boycott St. Petersburg. Instead, the pop icon has promised to express herself even louder.

“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,” she said in a recent blog post. “I don't run away from adversity.
I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”

City assemblyman Vitaly Milanov, author of the bill, has suggested he will prosecute Madonna if necessary. He tells Russian Interfax news he will “personally suffer” through Madonna’s concert to “control its moral content.” 

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993 but was still classified as a mental disorder until 1999.

Photo by Evan Agostini / AP

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