The page now shows a winter sports competitor above each of the
six letters in the U.S. Internet giant's name, set against
backgrounds in the six colors on the gay pride flag — red, orange,
yellow, green, blue and purple.
The page also includes a quote from the Olympic charter underlining
the right to practise sport without discrimination.
"The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have
the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any
kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding
with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play," it says.
Google Inc. did not immediately comment.
The international outcry over the law, signed by Putin last year,
threatens to undermine his hopes of using the Games to portray
Russia as a modern state that has come a long way since the Soviet
Union collapsed in 1991.
Putin says the legislation, banning gay propaganda among minors, is
needed to protect young people. Critics says it fosters a climate of
discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
Telecoms company AT&T, a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team,
criticized Russia this week over the law, increasing pressure on
other companies to speak out.
The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights organization, praised
Google for what it called a move to show solidarity with LGBT
Russians and visiting athletes.
"Google has once again proven itself to be a true corporate leader
for equality," HRC President Chad Griffin said.
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"Alongside Olympic sponsors like AT&T, Google has made a clear and
unequivocal statement that Russia's anti-LGBT discrimination is
indefensible. Now it's time for each and every remaining Olympic
sponsor to follow their lead. The clock is ticking, and the world is
PRESSURE ON SPONSORS
Companies including McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble pay
around $100 million each for rights to sponsor the Olympics over a
four-year period and want to tap into a feel-good atmosphere during
These companies are also facing pressure to speak out over the "gay
"These brands have spent millions to align themselves with the
Olympics, but have repeatedly refused to support the founding
principles of the Games," Andre Banks, one of the founders of gay
rights group All Out, said earlier this week.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned sexual
discrimination and attacks on homosexuals in a speech to the
International Olympic Committee in Sochi on Thursday which also drew
attention to Russia's record on gay rights.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said shortly afterwards in Sochi
that there would be no discrimination at the Games, due to open
later on Friday.
"We're all grown-ups and every adult has the right to understand
their sexuality," Kozak said. But, echoing a remark by Putin, he
added: "Please do not touch kids."
(Reporting by Timothy Heritage)
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