The Italian city of Venice has broken its cultural partnership with Russian city, St Petersburg, over an anti-gay law which was brought in a year ago.

In November, the Venice Municipal Council was considering ending its partnership with St Petersburg over the latter’s anti-gay laws.

The law equates homosexuality with “paedophilia” and was passed by the city on February 29 of last year – despite more than 270,000 people signing an online petition against the measure.

Making reference to Venice’s “history, international prestige and conscience” the Venice city council said it would refrain from cultural exchanges as long as anti-gay laws are in place, reports the Scotsman.

Venice and St Petersburg signed a bilateral cooperation agreement in 2006 but council members Simone Venturini and Camilla Seibezzi have now initiated a proposal to end the agreement. A hearing will be held within the next few days on the issue.

Milan also dropped its partnership agreement with the city over this issue last year.

On Friday, the Russian State Duma adopted the first reading of a homophobic censorship bill which would impose federal sanctions for the promotion of “gay propaganda”, similar to those passed in several regions of Russia, including St Petersburg.