These days it seems like things are starting to look brighter in the ever persistent struggle for the equal rights of those who identify themselves as being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender. With same sex marriage becoming legally recognized in more and more states across America, it's as though we've entered a new era in human acceptance and equality. But in places like Russia, it's actually looking more like the struggle may only be worsening, as anti LGBT activist groups seem to be gaining strength.
In the latest example of this growing trend, a law was passed there last February which makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors. As a result, world famous pop star and gay icon Madonna is being sued. The lawsuit comes following a performance in St. Petersburg where the artist distributed several pink wrist bands and later asked fans to raise their hand while wearing them, proclaiming "fight for the right to be free" -demonstrating solidarity in support of equal rights for the LGBT community.
Activist groups like the New Great Russia, the People's Assembly, and the Union of Russian Citizens are suing Madonna, the organizer of the concert, and the venue where it was held for a total of 333 Million Rubels (US$10.5 Million) stating that there were members in the audience as young as 12 years old. "Maybe someone does not see the link but after Madonna's concert maybe some boy becomes gay, some girl becomes lesbian, fewer children are born as a result and this big country cannot defend its borders - for me it causes moral suffering," said activist Alexei Kolotkov.
According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, an attorney representing the case addresses criticism that they're stuck in the Middle Ages saying, "No one is burning anyone at the stake or carrying out an Inquisition." He also adds that the plaintiffs are defending their rights, using civilized methods. "Modern civilization requires tolerance and respect for different values." The news agency also reports that the complaint includes video footage of Madonna stomping on an orthodox cross.
The lawsuit comes hot on the trail of the recent 2 year prison sentence handed down to 3 members from the politically charged punk band Pussy Riot after an impromptu performance at Moscow's central church Cathedral of Christ Our Savior where they publicly denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin. The recent conviction has sparked controversy and demonstrations around the world, as this latest development will likely add to.