Google vows to push governments on gay rights

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google has launched a global campaign aimed at persuading governments to decriminalise homosexuality and eliminate homophobia.

Its Legalize Love campaign is being announced at a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) conference in London today.

"In all of our 60 offices around the world, we are committed to cultivating a work environment where Googlers can be themselves and thrive," the company explains.

"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."

One of the first target countries is likely to be Singapore, which has draconian anti-homosexuality laws. Here, Google has for the second year running sponsored Pink Dot, an LGBT event exected to attract over 10,000 people.

"We are excited by the growing number of companies that are ‘coming out’ and supporting a social movement like Pink Dot," says Pink Dot spokesperson Paerin Choa.

"We are thankful that our corporate contributors this year recognise the value of inclusiveness and diversity, regardless of sexual orientation, and hope that more companies will contribute positively towards cultivating an inclusive work environment for their LGBT employees."

More important, though, will be the pressure that Google can bring to bear on repressive governments, particularly as it recruits other multinationals to the campaign. Singapore, in particular, is aiming to be a global financial center, and needs these companies on its side.

As Harry Gaskell Ernst & Young reportedly told the conference: "If you are trying to change something - governments can exert diplomatic power, NGOs can martial facts and arguments - but corporations marshal economic power. That is something even the most passive of countries will listen to."