The Internet has been burst with a wave of reports claiming that the tech giant that it is launching a worldwide push to legalize same-sex marriage.
“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 at the Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London. “It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work.”
However, the company explained that its new “Legalize Love” campaign isn’t about gay marriage at all, it’s aimed to support workers in countries that criminalize homosexuality.
“‘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,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement.
Nonetheless, the searching giant is not just altruistic in the initiative; there are practical business-related reasons behind Google’s push for equality, PC Mag says.
“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,” he added.
To hold the campaign, Google intends to join forces with other non-government organizations (NGO’s) in order to lobby the governments.
The company’s executive cites Singapore as an example of a country that would benefit from tolerant, pro-gay stance, saying:
“Singapore wants to be a global financial center and world leader and we can push them on the fact that being a global center and a world leader means you have to treat all people the same, irrespective of their sexual orientation.”
‘Legalized Love’ will focus on developing alliances with local companies and on supporting grassroots organizing efforts. Citigroup and Ernst & Young have already agreed to contribute to the program.
Some critics predicted that the campaign would probably push for worldwide legalization of same-sex marriage, but a company’s spokesman called that inaccurate. “The campaign’s focus is on human rights and employment discrimination”, he explained.
Google has a history of supporting gay rights. Back in 2008 the company spoke out most prominently when it came out against California’s “Proposition 8” ban on same-sex marriage.
“We see this fundamentally as an issue of equality,” Google cofounder Sergey Brin wrote on the company’s blog, denouncing the “chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees.” The ban narrowly passed, but was later ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.
Which is more, two years ago Google started providing additional compensation to gay and lesbian employees to cover the cost of a tax on domestic-partner health benefits that heterosexual married couples do not pay, KLFY writes.