Gay rights group Equality Florida has written letters to several city governments urging them to suspend their “sister city” relationships with Russian cities in light of that country’s anti-gay policies. Florida cities are weighing the suggestion.
Officials in at least two cities have discussed ending their relationships with their Russian counterparts. Russian laws criminalizing homosexuality and unpunished violence against gays have gotten much attention ahead of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Tallahassee Mayor Chief of Staff Rick Minor says, “Human rights violations are serious.”
He says after receiving Equality Florida’s letter, city commissioners will meet with the citizen-led committee in charge of the exchange program with sister city Krasnodar, which is less than 200 miles from Sochi.
“In the next few days we expect to have some more tangible steps to take," he says.
Equality Florida also sent letters to the governments of Sarasota, Orlando, St. Petersburg and Gainesville. None of those cities has taken steps to end their sister city programs.