AT&T Protests Russia’s Anti-Gay Law Ahead of Sochi Olympics

The U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor says it will stand against Russia’s “harmful” law, three days before the opening ceremony in Sochi

AT&T, a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee, announced an official protest against Russia’s anti-LGBT propaganda law Tuesday, three days before the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Sochi.

“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,” the company wrote in a blog post titled “A Time for Pride and Equality.”

Also read: Olympics: No Gay People Live in Sochi, Mayor Insists

“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 telecom company is referring to a controversial Russian law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations,” which has been the focus of worldwide protests ahead of the Sochi Olympic Games.

Also read: Olympics: Comcast CEO Says Sochi Games Are ‘Fantastic Way’ to Start 2014

Pro-gay group Human Rights Campaign requested International Olympics Committee sponsors put pressure on the organization to reject the law and support LGBT equality. AT&T explained in its blog post that, while its company is not an IOC sponsor and did not receive that request, it decided independently to publicly condemn the Russian policy.

“[W]e 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,” the post read.

Also read: Olympics Panic: NBC Defends Sochi Security Amid Terrorist Threats

“As the games begin, we’re here to support and inspire American athletes who’ve worked hard and sacrificed much to achieve their dreams,” the blog continued. “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.”

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics begin preliminary events on Thursday, followed by the opening ceremony on Friday, Feb. 7. NBC for the first time will broadcast early competitions before the opening ceremony broadcast, which will air on tape delay at 7:30 p.m. ET.