Today, in a post titled "A Time for Pride and Equality," AT&T became the first major US corporation to denounce the draconian anti-gay law in Russia, in anticipation of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi.
AT&T is a corporate sponsor of the United States Oympic Committee (USOC), but not the International Olympics Committee (IOC). Today AT&T released the following powerful statement of support for Russia's LGBT community:
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.” …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. We celebrate the diversity of all Olympic athletes, their fans, Russian residents and all people the world over – including and, especially, our employees and their loved ones. 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.
AT&T issues statement in support of LGBT equality globally http://t.co/2x2nHI8jLK
— AT&T (@ATT) February 4, 2014
Indeed, AT&T has often supported the LGBT community, including by taking a stand against anti-LGBT bullying as a partner for GLAAD's Spirit Day and received the Corporate Leader Award at the 22nd annual GLAAD Media Awards. The telecommunications giant has been sponsoring Team USA for 30 years. It was also the first company in its field to earn a perfect score on HRC's Corporate Equality Index, according to LGBT Weekly.
GLAAD's President, Sarah Kate Ellis, responded favorably to the statement, "AT&T has taken the bold step to proactively state its opposition to Russia's anti-propaganda law and its support for LGBT people in Russia. Sponsors of the Olympics now should follow their lead and show solidarity with LGBT Russians"
Just last week, more than 40 leading advocacy organizations, including GLAAD, sent a joint letter to Olympic sponsors, urging the condemnation of Russia's law that has incited anti-LGBT violence and led to arrests, including that of a ninth-grade girl. Additionally, the letter called for the companies to actively promote equality before and during the games, to monitor human rights abuses at the Olympics, and to ensure future host countries uphold the Olympic Charter.