CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Council Member Lee Storrow are asking the council to approve the request to dissolve the relationship with sister-city Saratov, Russia.

The Russian government recently illegalized propaganda of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) people or “nontraditional sexual relations around minors.”

Storrow joined Aaron Keck on the WCHL Morning News Friday to discuss the current situation in Russia and the request to dissolve the relationship.

***Listen to the Interview***


Statement from Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Council Member Lee Storrow on Chapel Hill’s Sister City Relationship with Saratov Russia
As openly LGBT politicians, the visuals and news stories coming out of Russia since the enactment of Russia’s new anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) law banning “homosexual propaganda” have been heartbreaking.  
Innocent individuals and families face persecution, violence and detainment for expressing themselves openly and non-violently in the public square.  These laws are deplorable and do nothing but create hardship, suffering, and in some cases death, for innocent people.  
It is in light of these laws that we will be petitioning the Chapel Hill Town Council to sever our Sister City Relationship with Saratov, Russia.

Created decades ago, the relationship has been inactive as long as we have served on Council.  The Town of Chapel Hill currently has no communication or active relationship with Saratov, Russia, and due to the enactment of Russia’s anti-LGBT policies, we see no reason to keep the relationship even in name.

We hope soon Russian society – as well as all societies foreign and domestic- will recognize that LGBT people deserve equal protection and freedom under the law.  The law Russian’s passed against LGBT citizens is a law designed to address a problem that does not exist.  LGBT citizens in all societies represent a great source of talent and value, able to contribute immeasurably to the betterment of a nation and a people.  Until Russian society is able to come to this basic truth, we see no ability to move forward in a productive sister city relationship with a Russian city or town.