Madonna May Be Charged Under St Petersburg Anti-Gay Law

ABC News Blogs

Pop singer Madonna has ignited controversy on both sides of a new anti-gay law in St Petersburg, Russia.

The Material Girl said in a Facebook posting this week that she plans to speak out against the law during an Aug. 9 concert in the city.

"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," Madonna wrote on Wednesday.

"I don't run away from adversity. I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity," she added.

The law, which took effect March 11, in part prohibits "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors."

Gay rights activists say it would criminalize even reading, writing or speaking about gay, lesbian, or transgender people. Violations can carry hefty fines, ranging from about $170 for individuals up to $16,700 or organizations and businesses.

The bill's author, city assemblyman Vitaly Milanov, says he wants Madonna charged under the new law if she speaks out against it during her concert. He said he was willing to attend the show "to control its moral content."

"I'm ready to personally suffer a couple of hours of her concert," he told the Russian Interfax news agency.

Madonna spoke out after an op-ed by Masha Gessen, a Moscow-based Russian-American journalist, was published in the New York Times on Monday calling on Madonna to cancel the show and urging tourists and businesses to boycott the city.

For some gay rights advocates her pledge to use the venue to denounce the new law was not enough.

A group of Russian gay rights advocates plans to picket the concert, saying Madonna is cashing in on their struggle and urging her to cancel the show.

"The law will stay in force, Madonna will leave and the Russian LGBT-community will be humiliated even more," Nikolai Aleksev, the head of the LGBT advocacy group Gay Russia, wrote on his blog.

Homosexuality was banned in the Soviet Union and was only decriminalized in 1993, though it was still declared a mental disorder until 1999. It remains highly taboo in Russia. Laws similar to the St Petersburg legislation are now being considered in other regions and the speaker of the Russian Parliament, the Duma, has promised to weigh endorsing it at a national level.

View Comments (844)

Recommended for You

  • Massive Pig Corralled at New Hampshire Polling Station

    One New Hampshire voter this morning wanted to see how the sausage gets made.A massive pig weighing over 600 pounds was corralled today from outside a voting station here in Pelham, New Hampshire, according to the Pelham Police Department.The pig lingered among Granite State voters, who were just…

    Good Morning America16 mins ago
  • Ciara Sues Former Fiance for Slander, Defamation and Libel

    Ciara has filed a lawsuit against her former fiancé, Future. Ciara cited numerous occasions in which she claims Future made malicious comments about her, their 1-year-old son, and her new boyfriend, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, on social media and in the press. A few months later, they…

    Good Morning America16 mins ago
  • Senator Worries Too Many Ineligible People Getting Obamacare Subsidies

    The head of a key congressional homeland security committee said today he's worried the Obama administration's system for denying Obamacare tax credits to ineligible applicants is so lax that it could lead to many undocumented immigrants getting coverage. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin,…

    Good Morning America24 mins ago
  • Florida Man Attacks Victims With Metal Rod and Samurai Sword in Bizarre Crime Spree, Police Say

    A 22-year-old man clad in a bright red bucket hat went on a bizarre and violent crime spree in Lauderhill, Florida, on Sunday morning, injuring two, police said. Jovaughn Walker stole a vehicle, attacked an elderly man with a metal rod at a gas station, then drove to a market and attacked a clerk…

    Good Morning America
  • 18-Year-Old Kidney Transplant Survivor Gets Renovated Truck Thanks to Make-A-Wish

    Strangers from around the country came together to make over a pickup truck for an 18-year-old kidney transplant survivor. Nick Cesarini, of Greenwich, Connecticut, was surprised with the truck Saturday in a reveal so dramatic his twin sister flew home from college to attend it. “I was blown…

    Good Morning America
  • Kelly Rowland Reveals What She's Learned From Beyonce’s Mom

    It's been nearly 20 years since singer Kelly Rowland launched on the scene as a member of one of music's prominent girl groups: Destiny's Child. However, Rowland has worked hard to do just that. The 34-year-old singer, who married her manager Tim Witherspoon in 2014, gave birth to their son Titan…

    Good Morning America
  • Zika Virus Outbreak Updates: Florida Expands State of Emergency to 7th County

    As the Zika virus outbreak continues, including in wide swaths of Central and South America, concerns are growing, especially for pregnant women, because the mosquito-borne virus has been linked with a serious birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain. …

    Good Morning America
  • Dad Writes School Note Excusing Daughters' Tardiness Because of a Bruce Springsteen Concert

    In a major Dad-move win, Patrick Pipino of Saratoga Springs, New York, penned an honest note excusing his daughters' school tardiness because the family attended a Bruce Springsteen concert on Monday night. Pipino told ABC News that his two daughters, Isabelle, 12, and Sarah, 7, are both huge…

    Good Morning America
  • Syrian Couple's Wedding Photos Amid Ruins of Homs Prove 'Life Is Stronger Than Death'

    Photos of the 18-year-old bride, Nada Mehri, and the 27-year-old Syrian army soldier groom, Hassan Youssef, were taken by professional photographer Jafar Meray Friday, according to international news agency Agence France-Presse. A large portion of Homs, Syria's third largest city, was destroyed…

    Good Morning America
  • Sikh Actor and Model Waris Ahluwalia Barred From Aeromexico Flight Over Turban

    Sikh actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia remains in Mexico City, a day after he says he was barred from boarding an Aeromexico flight to New York for refusing to remove his turban in public during a security screening. "This morning in Mexico City I was told I could not board my @aeromexico flight…

    Good Morning America
  • Samuel L. Jackson Recounts Racist Moment as a Young Actor

    Samuel L. Jackson said he'll always remember this one incident that happened when he was starting his career in Hollywood. He continued "There we were, lying facedown in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard. "I was thinking to myself, I’m in Hollywood now, on the verge of breaking through, and…

    Good Morning America
  • Rapper DMX Rushed to Hospital After Asthma Attack, Says Lawyer

    DMX was rushed to a Yonkers, New York, hospital last night after an apparent asthma attack, his lawyer Murray Richman told ABC News. The rapper, born Earl Simmons, was at a local Ramada at the time of the incident, according to both his lawyer and the manager of the hotel, Hari Shukla. Richman…

    Good Morning America
  • Royal Caribbean Passenger Recounts Terrifying 12 Hours on Cruise Ship

    One passenger on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by hurricane-force winds said she was afraid for her life as the boat tipped side to side and she lay in bed shaking.Guests on the Anthem of the Seas ship were asked to stay in their rooms Sunday as wind gusts topped 76 miles per hour…

    Good Morning America14 mins ago
  • Incredible Footage Shows Pedestrian Tripping Suspect as He's Running From Police

    Officers were on patrol in Kingston, United Kingdom, on Saturday when they were made aware of a report of two males dealing drugs, police said in a statement. The officers chased one of the suspects through the town center "when they received some unexpected assistance from a member of the…

    Good Morning America
  • Hong Kong 'Fish Ball Revolution' Erupts in Violent Crackdown

    Violent clashes erupted overnight in Hong Kong after protesters defended unlicensed food vendors, set up for Chinese New Year celebrations, from being shut down by police. The group said on its official Facebook page that its candidate for local council, Edward Leung Tin-kei, had been arrested.

    Good Morning America
  • Brie Larson Hasn't Seen or Spoken to Her Dad in 10 Years

    Brie Larson is up for an Oscar for her emotionally-wrenching performance of a woman held captive in a garden shed for seven years in the film "Room."Some of the inspiration for her performance, the 26-year-old actress told Elle in a new interview, comes from her own life and difficult childhood.…

    Good Morning America
  • Sylvester Stallone Says He Considered Boycotting the Oscars

    The topic of diversity in Hollywood and within the Academy was addressed by several stars Monday at the Oscar nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills. Sylvester Stallone, a best supporting actor contender for "Creed," made headlines by saying he was open to the idea of boycotting the upcoming Oscars…

    Good Morning America