Madonna to challenge St. Petersburg's 'gay propaganda' law

Wed. March 21, 2012 11:55 AM by

Madonna has vowed to defy St. Petersburg's recently enacted gay propaganda law when she performs this summer in the city, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

"I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed," she said in an email. "I'm a freedom fighter."

The law, which took effect last week, criminalizes "public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism among minors."

Offenders face a fine of up to $16,700 under the law first proposed by the dominant United Russia party.

The law effectively outlaws Gay Pride parades and gay rights demonstrations.

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

Supporters of the law say it is necessary to protect children and are lobbying for a nationwide ban.

The law's passage has prompted calls for tourists to boycott the city, Russia's top travel destination.

"There's lots of criticism from the media community about this law, but somehow most of the media forget about this crucial word – minors," Vladimir Vigilyansky of the Russian Orthodox Church, the nation's dominant religious body, told Bloomberg. "It's about propaganda among minors, not about banning homosexuality itself."

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