by Billy Ball
Amid the continuing backlash to Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" law, two openly LGBT leaders in Chapel Hill are calling for the town to sever its "sister city" relationship with a Russian city.
"Innocent individuals and families face persecution, violence and detainment for expressing themselves openly and non-violently in the public square," the statement reads. "These laws are deplorable and do nothing but create hardship, suffering, and in some cases death, for innocent people."
Chapel Hill currently has the "sister city" bond with Saratov, a port city in western Russia. Generally speaking, sister cities indicate mostly symbolic agreements to foster cultural understanding or, in some cases, business agreements.
Kleinschmidt and Storrow say the town's relationship with Saratov is "inactive" and should be eliminated.
Durham leaders are also under pressure to sever their relationship with the Russian city of Kostroma.