Gay protesters urge Atlanta-based Coca-Cola to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws

All Out  is also urging people to email Coca-Cola’s CEO and urge him to call for an end to Russia’s anti-gay laws. Coca-Cola is expected to make a statement this week, according to All Out.

Coca-Cola boasts it “maintains the longest continuous relationship with the Olympic Movement” going back to being a sponsor of the games since 1928.

While Coca-Cola — which consistently scores a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index —  is one of the major sponsors of the Olympics that has not spoken out against Russia’s anti-gay laws, other major sponsors including McDonalds, Visa, Dow and General Electric have not either.

“There were early indications that they might,” Masha Gessen, one of Russia’s gay-rights activists, told the New Yorker. “I think they are waiting for a strong threat from the gay community in the United States to force them to do something.”

Nearly than 150,000 All Out members have sent emails to the Coca-Cola CEO asking him specifically to:

• Speak out against the Russian anti-gay “propaganda” law and call for its repeal before the Olympics.

• Donate funds to Russian human rights defenders.

• Ask the Olympic Committee to change the rules so future Olympics can only happen in countries that fully respect equality.

Andre Banks, executive director and co-founder of All Out, said in a statement:

Coke is an incredibly important position of power and has the ability to influence the International Olympic Committee, other sponsors, and Russian leaders. The safety and dignity of Russians, athletes, and fans is in doubt as long as Russia’s anti-gay laws are intact. Olympic sponsors have a moral obligation to speak out now. As one of the largest Olympic sponsors Coca-Cola should take a strong stand against Russia’s anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. We urge them to speak out against the anti-gay propaganda law and call for a repeal before the Olympics, donate funds to Russian human rights defenders, and ask the Olympic committee to change the rule so future Olympics can only happen in countries that fully respect equality.

On Monday, Russia President Vladamir Putin said gay people will be welcome to the country during the Olympics that begin in February.

Photo via All Out