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Chapel Hill Council considers ending ties to Russian city due to LGBT concerns

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Demonstrators cover their faces with a mask representing the Russian President Vladimir Putin whilst they kiss during a demonstration in front off the Russian embassy in Paris. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon) Demonstrators cover their faces with a mask representing the Russian President Vladimir Putin whilst they kiss during a demonstration in front off the Russian embassy in Paris. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

The Chapel Hill Town Council accepted a petition Monday to end the town's sister city relationship with Saratov, Russia.

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Council Member Lee Storrow petitioned to Town Council to consider ending the town's relationship with Saratov, Russia, after the Council began receiving emails from residents in response to Equality North Carolina's "Nyet" campaign.

The Town Council accepted the petition Monday and requested that the matter be brought back for public input and Council discussion at a future meeting.

Equality NC is encouraging North Carolina cities with ties to Russian counterparts to sever those relationships in response to Russia's anti-LGBT laws.

"Everyday we see images of officials in cities all across Russia sitting idly by as their LGBT citizens are terrorized under anti-LGBT laws," the Equality NC petition reads. "Chapel Hill can and should send a message: We support our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and will not tolerate discrimination against our Russian LGBT brothers and sisters by a sister city."

Equality NC is also calling on Asheville to end its ties with Vladikavkaz, Durham's to Kostroma and Raleigh's to Kolomna.

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