On February 29, lawmakers in Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, passed a controversial bill outlawing “the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors” in film, books, newspapers, television and public demonstrations. Homosexuality technically remains legal in Russia but is highly taboo. In addition, St. Petersburg citizens are prohibited from displaying the rainbow flag.
“We are trying to protect our society from homosexual propaganda,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Russian radio three weeks ago.
The Russian online newspaper Ria Novosti reports that after the law was passed, gay activists asked leaders in the West to ban the proponents of the law, legislator Vitaly Milonov and Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, from entry into the EU, U.S. and Canada.
And it’s not just Western activists that are joining the fray. Madonna recently threatened to speak out against the law at her August 9 concert in St. Petersburg. “I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community, to support the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed,” the singer wrote on Facebook. “I don’t run away from adversity. I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”
Milonov, who is now pushing for a national law against “homosexual propaganda” in Russia, warned Madonnna against defying the law. He even suggested he’d suffer through her concert in person to assess its moral character.
Come on, Vitaly, admit it—you sort of liked “Borderline” when it came out.