Chicago and Los Angeles are Urged to Dump Their Sister Cities in Russia

 It’s getting hotter…..The Lansing Michigan City Council  appeared ready to adopt a resolution to formally begin the process of ending its sister city relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia due to discrimination against the LGBT community.

But miscommunication between the council and Mayor Virg Bernero’s administration put that move on ice. For now

Meanwhile, Equality Illinois has called on Chicago to end its relationship with Moscow.

From the statement:

“As the state’s oldest and largest
advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Illinoisans, we believe that it cannot be business as usual in Illinois’
relations with Russia until that country’s oppressive laws are reversed
and gays are not targeted for oppression,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO
of Equality Illinois.

“From many small but meaningful steps, a
national and then an international consensus will grow and ultimately,
we believe, force Russia to change its behavior toward its gay citizens
and visitors,” Cherkasov said.

Los Angeles has been also been wanting to sever ties to St. Petersburg  for
quite some time. Back in February, Los Angeles City Council introduced a
resolution that would have severed the city’s symbolic relationship
with Russia, Frontiers LA reports:

“The passing of this resolution sends a
strong message that the city will not tolerate discrimination against
our LGBT brothers and sisters in a sister city relationship,’ openly gay
City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl said in introducing his resolution on
Feb. 12. ‘We must stand together and continue to fight for our basic
civil and human rights for all human beings on this earth.”

Left unsaid in City Hall that day was the
possibility – albeit perhaps a remote possibility – that the severing
or even suspension of ties to St. Petersburg by the City of Los Angeles
would send a resounding message of support for LGBT human rights from
the ninth most economically powerful city in the world that other cities
could use as cover to also sever ties.

MEANWHILE  at a recent meeting in St. Petersburg, co-author of Russia’s bill banning
homosexuality Vitaly Valentinovich Milonov urged President Putin to not suspend the law
during the Sochi Olympics,
claiming that doing so would be “selective
enforcement.” This runs directly counter to the International Olympic
Committee’s assertions that athletes and spectators would be exempt from
the gay ban law.