Pennsylvania advocacy organization Keystone Progress wants Philadelphia to sever its “sister city” relationship with the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod.
At issue in the symbolic affiliation between the two cities: the law against “homosexual propaganda” passed by the Russian city in 2012.
Philadelphia resident Kim Bravo works just a few blocks away from Sister Cities park. She signed the organization’s online petition to City Council.
“This is very much a human rights issue, and I’m a Philadelphian. I’m born and bred here,” Bravo said. “And I’m very proud of my city and it would mean a lot to me if we could send this message.”
Philadelphia honors its seven sister cities with landmarks and cultural events.
Nizhny Novgorod is Russia’s fifth-largest city and one of the early cities in Russia to adopt legislation banning public displays of homosexuality.
Russia’s anti-gay laws have made national headlines in advance of the winter Olympics in Sochi. They were criticized by President Obama and cited as one of the reasons the president canceled a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.