Google’s “Legalise Love” campaign isn’t about gay marriage, as some media outlets have reported. It’s not "just" about supporting Gay Pride events, although it launched on July 7th at World Pride in London. It's really about supporting members of the LGBT community in countries that criminalize homosexuality, and using the brand's clout to lobby for change and open minds on gay rights.
The global initiative launched with Ernst & Young and Citigroup participating on behalf of their LGBT employees. "'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 to the Washington Post. The spokesperson elaborated:
Though our business and employees are located in offices around the world, our policies on non-discrimination are universal throughout Google. We are proud to be recognised as a leader in LGBT inclusion efforts, but there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality. Legalise Love is our call to decriminalise homosexuality and eliminate homophobia around the world.
At Google, we encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. In all of our 60 offices around the world, we are committed to cultivating a work environment where Googlers can be themselves and thrive. We also want our employees to have the same inclusive experience outside of the office, as they do at work, and for LGBT communities to be safe and to be accepted wherever they are.
That's why Legalise Love (as it's called outside the U.S.) highlights countries where homosexual activity is illegal such as Singapore, or Poland which has no legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Google is recognized by gay-rights groups as a leader for offering full benefits for same-sex partners, and made this year’s HRC "best places to work" list. Showing it has a sense of humor, too, its worldwide network of LGBT employees are known as Gayglers, and they were one of the first to create an "It Gets Better" video in 2010 to offer hope to gay youths.
Founder and president Sergey Brin lobbied against California Prop 8 in 2008, and in 2010, began additional compensation for gay and lesbian employees to cover the cost of a tax on domestic-partner health benefits that heterosexual married couples do not pay. "We see this fundamentally as an issue of equality," Brin commented at the time, denouncing the "chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees."
It's great to see the brand paying more than lip service to that promise, and make gay pride a year-round focus.