A judge on Thursday cleared Madonna of
claims she violated an anti-gay law in St. Petersburg.
Nine anti-gay activists filed a lawsuit
against Madonna claiming “moral damages” over her support for gay
rights during a Thursday, August 9 concert in St. Petersburg,
Russia's second city.
During the concert, Madonna openly
defied the city's ban on “gay propaganda” to minors.
“We want to fight for the right to be
free,” she told the audience, most of whom were wearing pink
wristbands distributed at the door. Madonna urged them to “show
your love and appreciation to the gay community.”
According to Ria Novosti, Judge Vitaly
Barkovsky dismissed the lawsuit after a six-hour hearing.
Plaintiffs were asking for more than
$10 million in compensation.
“St. Petersburg's laws were brutally
violated and in the coming years this type of violation could become
the norm,” Marina Yakovlyeva, a plaintiff, told the court. “But
we have created a precedent – any artist coming to our city will
know now that laws exist in our city.”
The lawsuit claimed that Madonna's
performance had hurt Russia's military capacity by adversely
affecting its birthrate and therefore its ability to properly staff
an army. The concert would also lead to an increase in divorce
rates, the plaintiffs claimed.
“How many families split up because
one of the couples is gay?” asked
Judge Barkovsky. “And how many because of alcoholism? How
many lawsuits have you filed against alcohol companies?”
Madonna did not attend the hearing,
despite a court summons.