Google Executive Resigns from World Vision Board over Decision to Affirm Traditional Marriage
The director of corporate giving for Google Inc. has resigned in protest from the board of a Christian aid organization after the charity reversed its decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages.
As the Associated Press reported Thursday, Jacquelline Fuller said in an email Wednesday to AP that while she remains a “huge fan” of the group’s work on behalf of the poor, she resigned Friday “as I disagreed with the decision to exclude gay employees who marry.”
AP reported that Fuller would not comment further.
Last week, World Vision U.S., a Christian international relief organization, had announced that it would hire employees in same-sex marriages. In response to this decision, the charity received severe criticism from some prominent evangelical leaders and, in addition, several thousand donors cancelled their child sponsorships.
Within two days, World Vision reversed its decision, but it began to hear complaints from evangelicals and others who supported recognition for same-sex married employees.
As the Washington Times reports, the charity said in a statement, "The board acknowledged it made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between one man and one woman."
According to the Times, following the reversal, Faithful America, a group of Christian pro-same-sex marriage activists, launched a petition which labels World Vision’s support for traditional marriage as “anti-gay hate” and called for Fuller and Google colleague John Park to resign from the board of World Vision. The petition’s statement reads:
World Vision, one of the largest Christian charities in the country, had announced plans to drop their discriminatory policy prohibiting gay Christians from working there – even if they're married and have the support of their churches.
Then the ugly backlash from the religious right started. So World Vision quickly reversed course and said they're going to continue firing gay employees.
World Vision's president Rich Stearns even apologized profusely for not consulting enough with anti-gay leaders and said "we cannot defer to a small minority of churches and denominations that have taken a different position."
But in addition to support from churches, World Vision also actively courts the support of major corporations who want to curry favor with Christian consumers. Google has two senior executives on World Vision's board of directors, including the company's director of corporate giving.
Google claims to support marriage equality, so now that World Vision is putting anti-gay politics ahead of serving poor and hungry people, Google needs to find new Christian partners who don't discriminate.
“World Vision is distorting Christian faith to pursue a right-wing anti-gay agenda,” said Faithful America director Michael Sherrard. “As one of the most prominent Christian charities in the world, their decision to allow gay and lesbian employees was a major step forward, and their quick reversal a painful punch in the gut to those of us who believe Christians are obligated to speak out for equality and dignity for all.”
“Jacquelline Fuller did the right thing by resigning from the board of an organization whose values don’t align with Google’s commitment to inclusivity and equality,” Sherrard added. “Now it’s time for John Park to follow suit.”
Fuller had been a board member of World Vision for two years. Richard Stearns, World Vision president, released a statement expressing gratitude to Fuller for her service.
According to AP, Steve Panton, a World Vision spokesman, said no other board members have resigned. Panton added that the board of directors met Wednesday and will meet within the next few days “to assess our past and future actions.”