November 10, 2012 13:46

Madonna to face trial in Russia for promoting gay rights

St Petersburg court rules there's enough evidence to sue 'MDNA' singer

Madonna to face trial in Russia for promoting gay rights

Photo: Press

A Russian court has ruled that there is sufficient evidence to sue Madonna for promoting gay rights during her 'MDNA' tour, according to reports.

In August of this year, it was reported that the singer had enraged some citizens by handing out pink anti-homophobia wristbands to crowd members during a show in St Petersburg and telling them to "fight for the right to be free". Her stunt was in response to a new regulation adopted in St Petersburg in March of this year, which saw the city's yearly gay pride parade banned as it promoted "gay lifestyles" and the "propagation of homosexuality" - both of which have now been outlawed.

A lawsuit was subsequently submitted by members of the Union of Russian Citizens, the People's Assembly and the New Great Russia party against the singer, with a lawyer for the group claiming that her actions caused "psychological stress and emotional shock" amongst the audience.

Now, according to The Times, a court in St Petersburg has given the go-ahead for the £6.5 million lawsuit to continue as the singer "crossed a line" by handing out the bracelets to "children as young as 12". Madonna did not attend the hearing and is not expected to be present at future court dates relating to the trial, either.

Madonna courted controversy throughout her tour of Russia. Previously, she used the Moscow-leg of the jaunt to express support for the jailed members of Russian punk collective Pussy Riot. In a speech to the 20,000 strong crowd, Madonna said: "I think they have paid the price for this act and I pray for their freedom," before stripping to her bra to reveal the words 'Pussy Riot' written on her back. For 'Like A Virgin' she donned a balaclava similar to those worn by the band. She was later dubbed a "moralising slut" by Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin for her comments.

Madonna was recently named as the biggest-selling female singles artist in UK chart history. New data from the Official Charts Company showed that she has shifted over 17.8 million singles in the UK since releasing her first track, 'Holiday', in 1984.

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