City Councilman Jim Kenney on Tuesday delivered a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter urging him to sever ties with Philadelphia’s Russian sister city Nizhny Novgorod due to its violation of LGBT citizens’ rights.
Kenney in a release noted Nizhny Novgorod was one of the first cities to introduce a ban on “homosexual propaganda.”
The law was then copied by the Russian Federal Legislature and extended nationwide.
“I believe that we, as the cradle of liberty and a beacon to the world for freedom of expression and human rights, cannot sit idly by without expressing our indignation and opposition to this clear and direct targeting of LGBTQ citizens in Russia,” Kenney said in a statement.
“Have we not learned from our recent history, that silence oftentimes equals death? We cannot and should not – and I for one – will not remain silent!”
Kenney last year spearheaded Philadelphia’s landmark LGBTQ equality bill, incentivizing city businesses to offer the same benefit plans to employees in domestic partnerships as they do to those in heterosexual marriages, and standardizing protections for life-partnered municipal employees.
“I would ask that you join me and other members of City Council in severing our Sister City relationship with Nizhny Novgorod – as well as expressing Philadelphia’s opposition to this clear violation of the human rights of LGBTQ citizens throughout Russia,” he said.