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Anti-gay-rights lawsuit against Madonna dismissed in Russia

BY MAX SEDDON AND IRINA TITOVA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- A Russian court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that sought millions of dollars in damages from Madonna for allegedly traumatizing minors by speaking up for gay rights during a concert in St. Petersburg.

The ruling came after a one-day hearing that bordered on the farcical. During it, plaintiffs claimed that Madonna's so-called "propaganda of perversion" would negatively affect Russia's birthrate and erode the nation's defense 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 rubles ($10.7 million) it sought from the singer for allegedly exposing youths to "homosexual propaganda."

Madonna did not attend the trial, and her publicist Liz Rosenberg said Thursday the star wouldn't comment about it.

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