On Thursday, a $10 million compensation case brought against pop star Madonna was dismissed by a St. Petersburg Court, Russia. The lawsuit had been brought by a group of anti-gay activists who held that Madonna had hurt their feelings by her promotion of homosexuality.
The lawsuit had sparked off local resentment at Madonna’s open antics to make a mockery of a city law that penalized the preaching of homosexuality. Madonna had called the law a “ridiculous atrocity” and in her apparent act of protest against the law, had performed in a black lingerie with the words “No Fear” scrawled on her back.
The lawsuit, supported by video recordings of Madonna’s concert, alleged that by trampling on an Orthodox cross and requesting members of the audience to raise their hands with pink bracelets on to support the gay movement, the artist had hurt mainstream feelings.
In a surprising move for a country known for orthodoxy in religious and sexual mores, Judge Vitaly Barkovsky not only dismissed the case brought against Madonna, but also ordered that the plaintiffs should pay legal costs to the defendants including the organizers of the concert.
The outraged anti-gay activists have said that they will be appealing the decision, and they believe their cause of action, which relates to gay propaganda among minors, to be correct.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993. However, in the earlier Soviet regime, it was punishable by imprisonment, and prejudice against gays remain high in Russian society.