Councilwoman wants to cut ties with Russian sister city

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte City Councilwoman Claire Fallon says the Queen City should immediately cut ties with its sister city in Russia, because of the country's new anti-gay legislation.

Charlotte and Voronezh became sister cities in 1991. Voronezh is about 500 km south of Moscow. In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning gay propaganda. Demonstrations around the country have resulted widespread arrests. President Obama has expressed concern with the legislation.

"I am saying you don't look away from something that's wrong. When you do, you're compliant with it," Fallon said.

Some of Fallon's colleagues including openly gay councilman Billy Maddalon disagree with severing ties with Voronezh.

"Anytime we've just said we're going to take our toys and go home, it hasn't turned out very well for us," he said.

Maddalon says he still wants to learn more about the sister city program, but his instinct tells him to keep a working relationship with Voronezh.

"My bet is we can get this council to be pretty close to unanimity about a path forward to understand what our options are," he said.

Lansing, Michigan, Chicago, and Los Angeles are all in similar situations with Russian sister cities.

Mayor Patsy Kinsey's office says she doesn't think Charlotte should end a relationship with a specific city because of a decision made by the Russian central government.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.