LGBT advocates have been pressuring the International Olympics Committee’s corporate sponsors like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola to speak out about Russia’s anti-gay laws. Though none of those sponsors have taken a position, AT&T;, which sponsors the United States Olympic Committee, issued a statement Tuesday condemning Russia’s law banning “gay propaganda”:
The Olympic Games in Sochi also allow us to shine a light on a subject that’s important to all Americans: equality. As you may know, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community around the world is protesting a Russian anti-LGBT law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” To raise awareness of the issue, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called on International Olympic Committee (IOC) sponsors to take action and stand up for LGBT equality.
AT&T; is not an IOC sponsor, so we did not receive the HRC request. However, we are a long-standing sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), we support HRC’s principles and we stand against Russia’s anti-LGBT law.
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.
AT&T; also urged other sponsors to do the same:
As the games begin, we’re here to support and inspire American athletes who’ve worked hard and sacrificed much to achieve their dreams. We also want to be on record with our support for the LGBT community, and we hope that others involved with the Olympic Games will do the same.
Though targeted companies like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have very positive records when it comes to protecting their LGBT employees and customers, they have remained silent about Russia’s laws. It remains unclear how safe LGBT athletes, coaches, and fans will be in Russia during the Olympics or how they might be disciplined if they speak out for LGBT equality.