Google rattled the internet this weekend when it announced its new “Legalize Love” campaign for gay equality.
There was some confusion around the name of the campaign, which initially led Dot429.com to report it supported legalizing gay marriage in the U.S. It turns out that stateside marriage equality is actually not the campaign’s focus at all. Rather it targets countries that criminalize homosexuality or have no legal recognition for same-sex couples. Singapore and Poland will be among the first priorities.
A Google spokesperson told MSNBC that the mission of “Legalize Love” is to “promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office in countries with anti-gay laws on the books.” And an official statement released yesterday evening reads “Legalise Love is our call to decriminalise homosexuality and eliminate homophobia around the world.”
But while Google does have a history of championing gay rights and going above and beyond to provide non-discriminatory policies in the US (including offering employees in same-sex relationships extra compensation to offset inequalities in the health care system), the company has faced some criticism for not going far enough in its public communications on the issue.
For instance, to celebrate Pride month Google introduced a doodle that would display a rainbow only around gay-related search queries instead of a permanent, static graphic that greets all Google visitors, like their other doodles.
Sure, it might seem oversensitive to read a slight into Google’s doodle policy, but the point stands: if you’re making a gesture for equality, why not go the whole distance?
Similarly, with the “Legalize Love” campaign, why stop at countries that criminalize homosexuality or have no legal recognition when the US doesn’t federally recognize same-sex marriages, even though the president thinks it should?
It might put a major US corporation with extensive lobbying efforts in a tricky position to advocate a social position controversial with many lawmakers. But Microsoft was able to officially support US marriage equality in June, and CEO Steve Ballmer officially endorsed it last week. Hell, even Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein backed marriage equality in February.
“Legalize Love” is an admirable campaign slogan. But while they’re at it, why not campaign for full civil rights equality for gay Americans?
[Image via MSNBC]