FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

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Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 : brett@fitzgibbonmedia.com

Progressive Groups Target Iconic Olympic Sponsor Visa Over Russia’s Anti-LGBT Laws

Courage Campaign & Democracy for America Urge Visa to Speak Out and Stand Up for LGBT Rights


Today, national progressive groups Courage Campaign and Democracy for America demanded that iconic Olympic corporate sponsor Visa stand up against Russia’s anti-LGBT law and speak out in favor of LGBT rights ahead of the upcoming Sochi Olympics.  The groups are calling on their combined 1.75 million members to urge Visa to break their silence on Russia’s human rights violations.

Visa, one of the Olympics’ primary corporate sponsors, has previously supported the LGBT community through efforts like the company’s Rainbow Platinum Plus Card, which bankrolls grants supporting the LGBT community. Now Courage Campaign and Democracy for America are calling on Visa to use their influential position to speak out for the Russian LGBT community, which is being silenced by the government’s exclusionary laws as the International Olympic Committee stands idly by and refuses to stand up for the dignity of the Russian people and the safety of international athletes preparing to participate in the Olympic Games.

"This is an opportunity for Visa to prove that they are a real ally of the LGBT community, not a fair weather friend merely willing to pay lip service to LGBT rights when it aids the bottom line," said Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America. "As a major sponsor of the Olympics, until it vocally rejects the rulings, Visa's silence can and should be seen as approval of the International Olympic Committee's feckless support of Russia's anti-LGBT laws."

Last week, GE, also an Olympic corporate sponsor, called on the IOC to “uphold human rights in every aspect of the Games.”  However, Visa has refused to step out from behind the IOC to speak out against the rampant injustice in Russia.

"Visa: it's everywhere you want to be, unless you're LGBT,” said Dr. Paul Song, Executive Chairman of Courage Campaign. “It's time for Visa to show that its respect for LGBT rights is more than a marketing scheme and speak out against state supported hate in Russia."

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CourageCampaign.org is an online organizing network that empowers more than 750,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. As a leading multi-issue advocacy organization, Courage Campaign's work is supported by thousands of small donations from our diverse community.

Founded by Governor Howard Dean, Democracy for America is the people-powered Democratic Political Action Committee. With over one million members nationwide, DFA is a grassroots powerhouse working to change our country and the Democratic Party from the bottom-up