AT&T became the first major U.S. corporation to make a public statement condemning the anti-LGBT Russian law outlawing "homosexual propaganda."
The company, in a blog post, said, "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."
Last week, 40 human rights and civil rights groups around the world called on Olympic sponsors to condemn Russia's passage of a law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin, allows for fines and jail time for those who disseminate information that may cause a "distorted understanding" that LGBT and heterosexual relationships are "socially equivalent." The law applies to citizens in Russia, but also foreigners, such as visitors for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.
AT&T is not an Olympic sponsor but the company, which has a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's LGBT equality index for corporations, responded to the human rights call. Chad Griffin of HRC reacted: "Today, AT&T courageously recommitted itself to fairness, equality and basic human rights. 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."