The most popular search engine in the world isn’t letting the most famous games in the world off the hook when it comes to gay rights.
On Friday, the day of the opening ceremonies of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Google waved the rainbow flag in the form of a colorful Google doodle adorned with various sports and a pointed quote from the Olympic charter. But this isn’t the first time Google has come out in support of gay rights.
The Doodle has six brightly colored stripes (one for each letter of Google) that create a slanted rainbow. Each stripe also has an illustration of an Olympic sport: skiing, hockey, curling, bobsled, figure skating, and snowboarding. Below the search box is a quote that tells the most about Google’s stance:
"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." -Olympic Charter
This is the fourth fundamental principle of Olympism, according to the Charter, found on Olympic.org.
Last year, Russia signed an anti-gay law into place that made it illegal to spread gay “propaganda” and host gay pride celebrations. Violent protests calling for reform have been prevalent throughout the region in the months leading up to the Olympics.
Google has been a strong supporter of gay rights for years. Google has a page on its website titled “Legalise Love: LGBT Rights Are Human Rights” (based out of Google’s London offices) that outlines its commitment to gay rights. The efforts include supporting gay pride celebrations around the world, holding "Queer thinking" seminars on activism, and hosting a Legalise Love Conference in London in 2012. Google also has an employee network for LGBT employees, friends, and allies called “The Gayglers,” and there are chapters at nearly all of Google’s offices worldwide, according to the site. Google also offers transgender-inclusive benefits to cover transitioning procedures.
"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," AT&T says in the blog post. "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."
Olympic sponsors DeVry University and Chobani yogurt have also issued statements affirming their support for LGBT rights.
Previously, the Human Rights Commission called on Olympic sponsors to condemn the anti-LGBT laws, which included companies such as General Electric, Panasonic, and Samsung.