AT&T on Tuesday became the first
major U.S. corporation to condemn an anti-gay law approved by Russia,
host of the upcoming Winter Olympics.
The Sochi Games, which begin Friday,
are being overshadowed by Russia's new law, which prohibits the
promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors, effectively outlawing
public demonstrations of support.
“The Olympic Games in
Sochi also allow us to shine a light on a subject that's important to
all Americans: equality,” AT&T wrote in a blog post titled A
Time for Pride and Equality.
“AT&T has a long and proud
history of support for the LGBT community in the United States and
everywhere around the world where we do business. We support LGBT
equality globally and we condemn violence, discrimination and
harassment targeted against LGBT individuals everywhere. Russia's
law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it's harmful to
a diverse society.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
U.S.'s largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded AT&T's move.
“Today, AT&T courageously
recommitted itself to fairness, equality and basic human rights,”
HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “AT&T should
be recognized for showing true leadership in opposing this hateful
Russian law, and other sponsors that have failed to lead should take
corrective action immediately. A company that claims to support LGBT
equality should do so wherever it operates, not just in the United
States, and we call on all Olympic Sponsors to follow AT&T's lead
and publicly denounce Russia's anti-LGBT law.”
AT&T has been a partner of the U.S.
Olympic and Paralympic Team for the past 30 years.
Corporate sponsors of the Winter
Olympics include The Dow Chemical Company, General Electric,
Panasonic, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, Omega, Samsung,
Coca-Cola, Visa and Atos.