International pop icon Madonna could face a fine of 5,000 rubles (roughly $170) for spreading “homosexual propaganda among minors” if she follows through with her vow to publicly denounce the newly enacted “gay propaganda” ban in St. Petersburg, Russia, at upcoming performance.
“If Madonna or one of the organizers of the concert breaks the city law, they will be punished,” warned Saint Petersburg assembly member Vitaly Milonov, who authored the law. Milonov promised to attend Madonna’s concert so as “to control its moral content.”
“I’m ready to personally suffer a couple of hours of her concert,” he reportedly told the Russian Interfax news agency.
Madonna, a long-time gay rights activist, spoke out about the controversial law after the New York Times published an op-ed by Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen on Monday, urging businesses and tourists to boycott St. Petersburg and calling on Madonna to cancel the August 9 show.
Madonna wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday, “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.”
As the propaganda bill makes illegal anything that can be perceived as “promotion of homosexuality,” Madonna’s concert promoters stand to lose upwards of 500,000 rubles (about $16,700) in fines.
It was reported earlier this month that Russian Orthodox Church officals were so pleased with the new law, that they are seeking ways to implement the ban nationwide.