Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Google speaks: "No on Prop. 8"

The official statement:

... Because our company has a great diversity of people and opinions -- Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, all religions and no religion, straight and gay -- we do not generally take a position on issues outside of our field, especially not social issues. So when Proposition 8 appeared on the California ballot, it was an unlikely question for Google to take an official company position on.

... it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 -- we should not eliminate anyone's fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.

Sergey Brin, Co-founder & President, Technology

Well I'm glad the search engine company I use every day got that right.

The Prop. 8 argument is between a fraction of the public who think they need to impose their moral postures on society in order to protect themselves from personal and social impurity -- and another (hopefully larger) fraction that thinks legalizing same-sex marriage is a matter of elementary fairness, of civil equality.

That Google and other monster corporations might place themselves on the side of civil rights is not surprising. Large, impersonal corporate entities thrive in defined legal environments in which prejudices and passions are constrained by law, though they are not always so good on equity for the low end of their workforces.

In general, they have supported affirmative action policies that create anxiety of about possible unfair outcomes in white populations. The upside of having clear rules that promote inclusion outweighs the downside of the anxieties of some (mostly) white men.

Many of the big guys, including banks, clothing maker Levi Strauss, and the power company, PG&E, have long been supportive of normalizing the legal status of gay people. For them, it's simply good business. And having a reputation for tolerance probably offers a competitive advantage in recruiting a young, creative workforce.

The culture of people who support something like Prop. 8 barely intersects with that of the No folks. I'll be writing more about this in a few days, but if you want a look at what moves the folks who feel threatened by same-sex marriage, try Chris Hedges' American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. The link is to a Google book, by the way. It's everywhere, that Google.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I would have a lot more respect for Google's position on any issue, if they weren't so biased in the way they handle complaints about you-tube postings. There have been a great many videos placed on you-tube displaying images that are against you-tubes policies, and a lot of complaints about them, but it appears that they only respond by removing the videos, if the complaints are from a so-called minority. Examples of this behaviour are when muslim terrorist activities are filmed and placed on you-tube, showing images of people being wounded, tortured or even killed, they have remained on the site for a long time, but when it comes to people making videos having an opposing view, even if there are no graphic images involved, they are immediately taken down, or even refused acces. I refer to the movie by Gert Wilders 'Fitna' which is a factual movie. And as for there policy of 'do no harm' Companies, such as Google, who have enormous influence throughout the world, should do more about repressive regimes like China, but they decided to kow-tow to them by censoring anything likely to embarrass the governments concerned. Surely that censorship is likely to do harm to the freedom and human rights of the people of those countries.

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