During a pre-trial hearing this week in St. Petersburg, Russia, a court ruled that a lawsuit filed against American pop singer Madonna for promoting homosexuality to minors could go forward.
The court opined that the suit, filed by groups such as Union of Russian Citizens, the People’s Assembly and the New Great Russia, presented “sufficient evidence” that Madonna violated local homosexuality laws. In St. Petersburg, it is illegal to distribute any “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism,” as it could “damage the health, moral and spiritual development of the under aged.”
This past August, during a concert appearance in the country, Madonna, 54, allegedly distributed pink bracelets that promoted tolerance of those that embrace the homosexual lifestyle. She told fans to wear the bracelets as a gesture of “love and appreciation to the gay community.” Because children as young as twelve years old were present at the event, Madonna’s actions were deemed to be in violation of the law.
She is now being sued for the American equivalent of 10 million dollars, and has been summoned to appear in court about the matter.
Madonna, who first became popular in the 1980’s with her songs “Like a Virgin,” “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Material Girl,” has been at the center of controversy on a number of occasions, including for engaging in sexually suggestive acts on stage. The video for her song, “Justify My Love” featured depictions of homosexuality, sadomasochism and nudity, and was deemed to be too explicit for MTV. She also wrote a book entitled Sex that contained graphic images, but sold 1.5 million copies in just a few days. In 2003, she shocked many when she kissed Brittney Spears on stage during the annual MTV awards.
Born Catholic, Madonna has also been involved in Kabbalah, a Jewish form of mysticism, since the 1990’s.