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Gay Rights Group Withdraws Support For AT&T Merger Gay Rights Group Withdraws Support For AT&T Merger

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Congress

Gay Rights Group Withdraws Support For AT&T Merger

July 13, 2011

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Wednesday it has withdrawn its support for AT&T's proposed merger with T-Mobile USA.

The group came under fire this spring after its former president, Jarrett Barrios, wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission supporting the AT&T/T-Mobile merger not long after receiving a donation from AT&T. Barrios denied that the group's support for the merger was linked to the donation but resigned last month.

In a new letter to the FCC, Mike Thompson, the group's acting president, said his organization was rescinding its endorsement of the merger and now has a neutral stance on the deal.

"A rigorous review process considered GLAAD's unique mission and concluded that while AT&T has a strong record of support for the LGBT community, the explanation used to support this particular merger was not sufficiently consistent with GLAAD's work to advocate for positive and culture-changing LGBT stories and images in the media," Thompson said in a statement.

He repeated his group's stance on net neutrality, noting that GLAAD does not approve of AT&T's general opposition to net neutrality rules barring all broadband providers from blocking access to Internet content, applications or services.

"A nondiscriminatory and neutral Internet has allowed new digital media initiatives and the blogosphere itself to flourish online," he told the FCC.

In response to GLAAD's move, an AT&T spokesman said, "As we've previously said, we recognize, and fully respect that these organizations, which do important work, will make up their own minds about whether to support the merger or remain neutral. And, though it should go without saying, the decisions made by these organizations will not in any way impact our desire to work with, partner with, or support those organizations in the future."

Last month, Pride at Work, an offshoot of the AFL-CIO that promotes gay rights in the workplace, announced its support for the merger, citing AT&T's track record in supporting rights for gay workers.

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