COMMENTARY | Google is certainly out of the closet about its gay rights advocacy work. The latest action by the company on behalf of LGBT rights: a worldwide campaign called “Legalize Love,” meant to advocate safer working conditions for LGBT people in countries across the world.
“‘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 wrote in a statement.
Google exec Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe introduced Legalize Love at the Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London this weekend. “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,” Palmer-Edgecumbe said. “It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work.”
The campaign officially launched July 7 in Poland and Singapore, where Google will focus its earliest efforts. Eventually, the company wants to expand the campaign to every country where it has an office, working to decriminalize homosexuality and cultivate safe and inclusive work environments for LGBT people across the world. It will focus particularly on countries with homophobic cultures or unsafe working environments for LGBT people.
Google already works with several prominent LGBT advocacy organizations on their unique missions, including the Human Rights Campaign (the largest LGBT rights organization in the country), The Trevor Project , and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. It remains to be seen what role, if any, these organizations may play in launching Legalize Love, but Google has made public its partnerships with these groups.
Google has a long history of working for causes supportive of LGBT rights, both in the United States and abroad. More than 1,500 Google employees have participated in gay pride celebrations from Boston to Sao Paulo to Warsaw. Google has hosted LGBT-oriented seminars on Internet activism in Sydney and sponsored Pink Dot pride celebrations in Singapore.
Google publicly expressed opposition to Proposition 8, the California measure outlawing same-sex marriages, and has supported gay pride with an “Easter egg” showing a rainbow-colored search bar during June, commonly known as gay pride month. Google included a doodle of a gay couple in its Valentine’s Day home page animation this year and honored gay artist and AIDS activist Keith Haring in another.
Perhaps most notably, Google compensated its gay and lesbian employees for a tax they had to pay in order for their domestic partners to receive benefits — a tax heterosexual employees did not have to pay. The company has taken a bold stance in favor of LGBT rights nationwide, and its actions over the years demonstrate Google’s commitment to that mission. Legalize Love is no exception.