By Anna Peirano
Correction: The “Legalize Love” campaign focuses less on legalizing gay marriage, and more on promoting safer working conditions for LGBT employees.
A Google spokesperson told dot429, “‘Legalise Love’ is a campaign to promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office.”
The campaign officially launches in Poland and Singapore on Saturday, July 7th. Google intends to eventually expand the initiative to every country where the company has an office, and will focus on places with homophobic cultures, where anti-gay laws exist.
Google’s Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe outlined the initiative at a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London earlier today. “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. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work.”
Their strategy involves developing partnerships between companies and organizations to support grass-roots campaigns.
On the decision to launch the initial phase in a country like Singapore, Palmer-Edgecumbe says, “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.”
At the end of the day, the “Legalize Love” campaign is also good for Google’s business. “We operate in many countries and have a very globally mobile workforce. We have had a number of instances where we have been trying to hire people into countries where there are these issues and have been unable to put the best person into a job in that country,” said Palmer-Edgecumbe.
Harry Gaskell, of professional services firm Ernst & Young who also spoke at the conference in London, backed the argument for combining initiatives between governments, organizations, and companies. “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.”
Bob Amnnibale, an openly gay executive at Citi, also praised the initiative. “The fact that Google is so virtual and its appeal is very wide and young demographically means it can help spread messaging very, very quickly.”
Google has had a long standing history of enacting fair policies to promote equal rights for their workers.
Back in 2010, Google began covering a cost that gay and lesbian employees must pay when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax that heterosexual married couples do not pay.
The company has also signed various referendums in the past, and have actively sponsored Pride celebrations around the world.