Google has now decided to put its enormous global presence at the service of the gay community. On July 7, it is launching a worldwide campaign called “Legalize Love” that is aimed at countries that haven’t legalized same-sex marriage.
And just where is Google starting its push? Singapore and Poland
Singapore has a reputation for being religiously tolerant, with a wide array of religious groups represented there. 33% of its residents are Buddhist, 18% Christian, 15% Muslim, 11% Taoist, 5% Hindu, and roughly 17% no religious affiliation, and they coexist peacefully. This religious tranquility means that no one is about to have a violent reaction. Google is targeting Singapore in the area Singapore values most: business. Google’s Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe said: “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.”
Poland, which is hugely Roman Catholic, is a different story; a 2010 study in the newspaper Rzeczpospolita showed that 79% of Poles opposed gay marriage. The attempt by Google to change Poland is an indirect attack on the Catholic Church, which is not surprising since Google is a powerful supporter of Barack Obama, who has attacked the Church with his contraception policy.
And, of course, Google is going nowhere near Muslim countries in the Arab world. Just like the feminist movement, which ignores abuses in the Muslim world because feminists only target those who won’t kill them for speaking out, Google is targeting places it thinks will cave to its pressure.
Palmer-Edgecumbe stated company policy thus: “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. 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.”
Does anyone really think that Google’s primary reason for this action is financial rather than socio-political? It’s testing the waters to see exactly how much power it wields. But the Internet behemoth may find that other companies that compete with it might be able to get a toehold by sticking with traditional values.