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Madonna 'perversion' case rejected
A Russian court has dismissed a lawsuit which sought millions of pounds in damages from Madonna for allegedly traumatising minors by speaking up for gay rights during a concert in St Petersburg.
The ruling came after a one-day hearing which bordered on the farcical.
During it, plaintiffs claimed that Madonna's so-called "propaganda of perversion" would negatively affect Russia's birth-rate and erode the nation's defence capability by depriving the country of future soldiers.
At one point, the judge threatened to expel journalists from the courtroom if they laughed too much.
In the end, the Moskovsky District Court in St Petersburg threw out the Trade Union of Russian Citizens' lawsuit and the 333 million roubles (£6.7 million) it was seeking from the singer for allegedly exposing youths to "homosexual propaganda".
Madonna did not attend the trial, and her publicist Liz Rosenberg said that the star would not be commenting.
Anti-gay sentiment is strong in Russia, particularly in St Petersburg, where local legislators passed a law in February which made it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors. Six months later, Madonna criticised the law on Facebook, then stood up for gay rights during a concert in St Petersburg which drew fans as young as 12.
"Who will children grow up to be if they hear about the equal rights of the lesbian lobby and manly love with traditional sexual relations?" one of the plaintiffs, Darya Dedova, said. "The death rate prevails over the birth rate in the West; young guys are becoming gender-neutral."
"We want to defend the values of a traditional family, which are currently in crisis in this country," Ms Dedova told the court. "Madonna violated our laws and she should be punished."
Madonna, who performed in Moscow and St Petersburg in August as part of her world tour, also angered Russian officials by supporting jailed members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.