Search engine titan Google announced Saturday its new "Legalize Love" campaign to pressure countries where it has offices to give gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders more rights and recognition.
Google's Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, head of the company's Diversity and Inclusion department for Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, spoke at the Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London, where he rolled out the "Legalize Love" campaign that will run in countries where homosexual activities are illegal or same-sex relationships are not legally recognized. The Fortune 500 company officially launched its gay activism campaign in Singapore and Poland on Saturday. It plans to expand the initiative to more countries that don't legally recognize same-sex relationships and where it has offices, in the future.
"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," said Palmer-Edgecumbe, reported Dot429, a site for LGBT professionals. "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."
Singapore officially bans some homosexual activities, although the law is generally not enforced. And Poland, where some 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, does not legally recognize same-sex couples.
Palmer-Edgecumbe further explained that Google has faced instances where it could not bring the best person for a job to a country because of that nation's LGBT-related policies.
Google's "Legalize Love" campaign is no surprise for people who have been following the company's gay activism. Back in June 2011, one of the company's doodle of the day celebrated gay pride month by having the LGBT rainbow pop up alongside the Google search bar when users search for "pride-related" terms, such as: gay, lesbian, homosexuality, LGBT, bisexual, and transgender.
The Northern California-based company was also involved in the landmark Proposition 8 campaign, a ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state of California and a forerunner to other state referendums on gay marriage. In 2008, Google publicly opposed Prop. 8, when its co-founder Sergey Brin wrote "chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees … brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8 … We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 – we should not eliminate anyone's fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love."
Other major companies that have come alongside Google on the "Legalize Love" campaign include international financial conglomerate Citigroup and global professional services group Ernst & Young. The search engine giant is also working with local companies to form grassroots campaigns.
Google is listed among the LGBT-rights group Human Rights Campaign's "Best Places to Work 2012" list. The company provides full benefits for the same-sex partner of an employee.