WASHINGTON, August 22 (RIA Novosti ) – A gay rights group has delivered a petition to the headquarters of Procter & Gamble calling on the US consumer goods giant to pull sponsorship of the Sochi Olympic games to protest a Russian law on homosexuality, local media reported.
The petition bearing 200,000 signatures was delivered to the P&G corporate headquarters in Cincinatti, Ohio by Julianne Howell, a member of the Get-Equal activist group and the organizer of the petition, local television station WLWT reported on its website Wednesday.
Another local television station, Fox 19, quoted Howell as saying the petition was not confined to P&G but would also include other large multinational corporate Olympics sponsors including Coca-Cola, Panasonic and Samsung.
The petition was originally posted to the online petition website Change.org. A counter on the site indicated the petition had been supported by just under 200,000 people.
Fox 19 quoted P&G spokeswoman Mary Ralles as saying the company would not withdraw its sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics but also believed “the games should be free of discrimination regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation."
Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympic games in its southern resort city of Sochi next February. The country has come under withering criticism from gay rights activists in recent weeks over a new law banning “promotion of non-traditional sexual orientations” among minors.
Russia says the law is meant to shield children from a lifestyle most Russians view as aberrant. Critics say it discriminates against homosexuals, a charge Russian officials reject.