MOSCOW – Some Russian activists have sued Madonna for millions of dollars, claiming they were offended by her support for gay rights during a recent concert in St. Petersburg.

Anti-gay sentiment is strong in Russia. In St. Petersburg, a law passed in February makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors, and the author of that law has pointed to the presence of children as young as 12 at Madonna’s concert Aug. 9.

Russian news agencies quote Alexander Pochuyev, a lawyer representing the nine activists, as saying the suit was filed Friday against Madonna, the organizer of her concert, and the hall where it was held, asking for damages totaling nearly $10.5 million.

Responding to criticism that the plaintiffs were stuck in the Middle Ages, the lawyer said they were using civilized, modern methods to defend their rights.

“No one is burning anyone at the stake or carrying out an Inquisition,” Pochuyev was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. “Modern civilization requires tolerance and respect for different values.”

The complaint includes a video taken at the concert showing Madonna stomping on an Orthodox cross and asking fans to raise their hands to show the pink armbands in support of gays and lesbians that were distributed among the audience, the new agency reported.

Madonna’s spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, did not immediately respond to emails asking for the singer’s reaction to the lawsuit.

Madonna also has angered conservative Russians with her support for Pussy Riot. Three members of the punk band were sentenced Friday to two years in prison for a protest inside Moscow’s main cathedral against Vladimir Putin and his cozy relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Madonna spoke out in support of the group during her concert in St. Petersburg and two days earlier in Moscow. After the verdict was issued, Madonna called on “all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment.”

Kid Rock: ‘Gentlemen, start your engines’

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Michigan musician Kid Rock has added another moniker to his storied career: grand marshal.

The Grammy nominated, multiplatinum-selling rocker served as the Pure Michigan 400 grand marshal Sunday at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

His duties included saying, “Gentlemen, start your engines” to begin the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday afternoon.

State and race officials cited Kid Rock’s support of Michigan through his music and philanthropic efforts.

Kid Rock was born Robert Ritchie. He grew up in and lives in suburban Detroit.

Judd cancels shows after husband hurt

HILL CITY, S.D. – Country singer Wynonna Judd announced Sunday that she is postponing concerts scheduled in Canada this week after her husband was hurt in a motorcycle accident in South Dakota.

Judd and her husband, Michael “Cactus” Moser, were riding separate motorcycles north on U.S. Highway 16 in the Black Hills on Saturday when Moser crossed the center line and hit a car.

Moser, 55, of Nashville, Tenn., was airlifted to Rapid City Regional Hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Judd was riding ahead of her husband and was not involved in the crash. The car’s driver was not injured.

Moser was cited for crossing the center line and not having a motorcycle license.

Judd canceled her Saturday night show in Deadwood, a resort town in the Black Hills. Her website showed four concerts scheduled this week in Canada.

— From news service reports