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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 10 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 32
Madonna speaks up for Russia's LGBT community, is fined 500,000 Rubles
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Madonna speaks up for Russia's LGBT community, is fined 500,000 Rubles

By Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Madonna spoke out publicly in support of Russia's beleaguered LGBT community during her St Petersburg concert on August 9, and will be fined 500,000 Rubles (somewhat more than $17,000) for violating the city's 'Don't say Gay' law.

'The gay community here, and all around the world, have the same rights, to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love,' she said between renditions of 'Open Your Heart' and 'Masterpiece.'

She then compared Russia's LGBT community to Martin Luther King Jr. and the African-American civil rights movement.

'If you're with me, I want to see your pink arm bands!' she asked the concertgoers, referring to wrist bands given to them to support the LGBT community. 'I said, are you mother fucking with me?'

Madonna also made a passing reference to Russian Orthodox Church officials who have condemned LGBT rights.

'It's in every holy book: love thy neighbor as thyself,' she said,

'You cannot use religion to treat other people badly. Let's all go out into the world and spread this message of love, and live our lives without fear.'

Then, during her performance of 'Like A Prayer,' while dancers raised a rainbow flag provided by a member of the Russian LGBT Network, Madonna took a 'No Fear' poster from the crowd and raised it onstage.

Gay bashing scenes from LGBT marches in Russia, pictures of teenagers who died because of pervasive homophobia, and many shots of Gay and Lesbian kisses were shown during the 'Nobody Knows Me' Interlude Video.

St Petersburg politician Vitaly Milonov declared the next day that Madonna violated the law against 'homosexual propaganda' and is planning to charge her a 500,000 Ruble fine. Milonov is a supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin and the author of the law making almost any mention of Russia's LGBT community a crime.

The St Petersburg concert was not Madonna's first run-in with Russian authorities on the tour. On August 7 at her Moscow concert, she spoke in support of the all-girl punk band Pussy Riot, now on trial for singing an obscene anti-Putin song in a Russian Orthodox cathedral.

Modonna's Moscow performance reportedly outraged Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, who later described her in obscene Russian slang on his Twitter account.

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