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Google to governments: Legalize gay marriage

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  • Google to governments: Legalize gay marriage

    Source: cnet.com

    In an effort to make gay marriage the norm, Google announces "Legalize Love," a campaign that pressures governments to do the right thing.



    Google's Valentine's video featured a gay couple.
    (Credit: Google Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

    When even corporations can see that a piece of social legislation makes sense, you'd think that the politicians who ultimately work for those corporations would listen. Especially in America.
    And yet the path of gay marriage has not been smooth.
    Yesterday, though, Google -- which has repeated expressed support for gay marriage, for example in this year's Valentine's video (embedded) -- decided to confront politicians publicly by launching a global campaign called "Legalize Love."

    As Dot429 reports, Google announced its intention yesterday at a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London.
    Its first governmental targets are Singapore and Poland, two countries with slightly different approaches to life.
    Google's Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe reportedly told the Summit: "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."



    Having lived in both Singapore and Poland, I feel sure that Google's task in each country will not be easy but perhaps for different reasons.


    In Poland, the Catholic church has considerable influence in politics. The fact that the church's perception and reality are somewhat in conflict belies the fact that it plays has deep emotional role in the country.
    In Singapore, on the other hand, Google's approach may be more pragmatic, appealing to the highly intelligent, rational (and very well-paid) minds that run that country.
    As Palmer-Edgecumbe put it: "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."
    Google wants this campaign to be active in every country in which it has an office. However, it is placing the greatest heat initially on those places that actually have anti-gay legislation.
    What's tragic is that in some of those countries, such legislation is rumored to have been enacted by politicians who are themselves gay but are so fearful of being outed that they hide behind the creation of such laws.
    Google's idea is to mobilize other companies in order to put collective pressure on governments in the countries in which they operate.
    Indeed, Ernst and Young's Harry Gaskell was beautifully blunt at the Summit about the power corporations can bring: "If you are trying to change something -- governments can exert diplomatic power, NGOs can martial facts and arguments -- but corporations martial economic power. That is something even the most passive of countries will listen to."
    Money is power, and power can change things.
    Wouldn't it be an interesting if several large corporations' CEOs whispered over cocktails with members of government and explained that they would move their offices out of the country unless the government legalized gay marriage?
    What's odd about the resistance to gay marriage is that it comes from politicians who claim to believe in the institution itself. It's an institution that so many heterosexuals have rather besmirched over the years. Perhaps gay couples might be able to teach them how it's done.
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