July 9, 2012

Google Promotes Marriage Equality With ‘Legalize Love’ Campaign

Having already established a foothold in the realms of online search, cloud computing, software development, advertising technologies and other related fields, Google will enter the social activism field with its latest project, the "Legalize Love" campaign.

The campaign, which was announced at a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London and officially launched in two countries on Saturday, is designed to battle homophobia and support lesbian, gay, and bisexual people all over the world.

However, the specific components of the "Legalize Love" project seem to be somewhat unclear at this time.

According to PCMag's David Murphy and Dot429's Anna Peirano, the goal of the campaign is to push countries to legalize gay marriage.

However, Matt DeLong of the Washington Post argues that it "isn´t about gay marriage at all, but rather supporting workers in countries that criminalize homosexuality."

Perhaps MSNBC.com's Rosa Golijan best summarized the goals of Google's efforts when she said that its goal is to "fight homophobia and lobby against legal oppression of homosexuals all over the globe."

"We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office," Google executive Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe said during the LGBT conference, according to Stacy Cowley of CNNMoneyTech.

"'Legalize Love' is a campaign to promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office in countries with anti-gay laws on the books," Google said in a written statement, according to Cowley.

Google launched the campaign Saturday in Singapore and Poland, Cowley said. In the former country, certain types of homosexual activities are prohibited by law, and in the latter, there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples, she said. Peirano noted that the company ultimately plans to expand the campaign to fight for the rights of LGBT individuals in every country where there is a Google office.

Google has been lauded in the past for their work in the social justice field. The company offers full benefits for same-sex partners, and publicly opposed California's "Proposition 8" ban on same-sex marriage in 2008, according to CNN. Furthermore, it has been named one of the best places to work by the Human Rights Campaign.

However, as Murphy pointed out, there are also business-related reasons for the campaign -- quite simply, they want to be able to put the best employee in the best position for success, regardless of sexual orientation.

"We operate in very many countries and have a very globally mobile workforce. We have had a number of instances where we have been trying to hire people into countries where there are these issues and have been unable to put the best person into a job in that country," Palmer-Edgecumbe said.

"Conversely we have had to move people out of countries where they have been experiencing homophobia to a different location. And we are also having to support staff in those countries in terms of relationships with the government and homophobia they are experiencing outside of the office," the Google executive added.