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Google Announces “Legalise Love” Campaign

Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe is the current head of Diversity and Inclusion at Google for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Some may recall a time when major corporations didn’t have Diversity and Inclusion offices, but the 21st century is a unique and colorful time. Palmer-Edgecumbe has a strong background in D&I, having been a chief executive at Ari Diversity Consulting practice, and before that having six years as Global Head of Diversity at Barclays Group. The enthusiastic Palmer-Edgecumbe writes prolifically on the subject in a D&I blog for the Online Guardian in the United Kingdom. Prior to his full time entry into the Diversity field, the Google spokesman had a solid background in economics, and was a Head of Industry Analysis.

Google has launched a Legalise Love campaign in an effort to decriminalize homosexuality and eliminate homophobia around the world. Palmer-Edgecumbe calls Google employees “Googlers” and explains that Google, “Encourages people to bring their whole selves to work. In all of Google’s 60 offices around the world, Google is committed to a work environment where Googlers can be themselves and thrive.” He indicates that Google is a leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion efforts, and feels that there is still a long way to go to “achieve full equality.” His goal is that Google employees should be safe and accepted wherever they are. One particular and initial thrust of the Legalize Love campaign is in response to the non-legality of gay marriage in Singapore and Poland.

Google has chosen to focus on Poland in particular owing to its largely Roman Catholic population and the Polish opposition to gay marriage. But Google makes the point that this is not an attack on the Catholic Church, rather a way to support gay marriage and Barack Obama. Google will extend the initiative to “every country where the company has an office, especially in places with cultures that are homophobic, and/or where anti-gay laws exist.”

Google feels a company should have a distinctive and unique corporate image, and that the company will benefit from an image they feel is representative of thinking in the modern world. In September of 2008, a co-founder and president in Technology at Google, Sergey Brin, posted commitments to a policy favoring gay marriage in the company’s official blog. Brin prefaced his remarks at that time by saying that because of “Google’s diversity of people and opinions on political and social issues, including religion or the absence of religion, [they] ordinarily don’t take positions on issues outside [their] field.” However, they felt a need to take exception to the matter of gay marriage. Brin conceded that when Proposition 8, dealing with gay marriage, appeared on California ballots, it was “an unlikely question for Google to take an official company position on. However,” Brin continued, “disallowance of gay marriage is an encroachment on our personal lives. It is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. 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.”

Google has fought for fairness in these issues. Google covers a tax that gay and lesbian employees must bear when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits. This fee is not charged by the government for heterosexual married couples.

It would seem that gay rights, toleration, and same-sex marriage are the wave of the future. The once taboo is now the daily course. We hope that our modern philosophers are correct in their thinking, Hindsight we remember, is 20/20.

About John Lake

John Lake the tireless crusader of the liberal blog stymies us with his political and breaking news views. In addition he makes continuing contributions to the wide world of empirical science. And finally, his strange takes on life in the pursuit of humor are a treat and a delight.
  • Igor

    To say that “corporations only seek to maximize profits to their shareholders” is a misstatement.

    There are many reasons for any given corp:

    -to divvy up potential profits among founders
    -to open investment to outsiders, eg., an IPO
    -to insulate owners from company liability
    -advantageous tax opportunities
    -to partition profits from liabilities
    -to gain a power advantage over a subsidiary
    -to skim profits

    For example, a startup uses incorporation to begin allocating rewards among founders, and to create a base for outsider investment in an ongoing finance plan.

    Sometimes corps are operated in pairs. For example, American Airlines (AA) is an operating company owned by a parent company (AMR) which skims profits every quarter leaving the operating company with no reserves (or, in another play, excess reserves to make some merger more plausible). Thus, AA is always on the edge of disaster while AMR shareholders get dividends.

    If one corp is owned by another,it allows a de facto minority to control the money-maker. 51% of The Board dictates policy, so if 51% shares are held by a holding company, and, in turn, 51% of the holding company is held by the minority, the minority only has to hold 26% of the exposure to dictate policy. Of course, this can continue on just like facing mirrors, so that a vanishingly small number of investors control a big company. Abuse of this opportunity was severely restricted in the late 19th century because of abuse, but it seems to be making a comeback since regulation seems to have gone dormant.

  • Cindy


    I didn’t say that government was always good or trustworthy or in any way a friend…but a lot of the time it’s one or all of the three. Of course, those proud in their cynicism will laugh at the notion, but government is made up of people, and people are usually good. It’s the not-so-common misfits that make the rest of us look bad.

    The story revealed that the FDA is not what you say it is, Glenn. It is evidence of systemic malfunction. Those empowered by the agency are hiding evidence of harm against the population. What kind of organization designed to protect the citizenry HIDES information about how business enterprises are manufacturing equipment that can injure people?

    It sound to me like their ‘confidentiality’ claims are nothing more than claims of authority. Who give the FDA a ‘right’ to such confidentiality?

    Now, consider this point. These are scientists who are so concerned that the only way they feel they will be heard is by writing to Congress and the president! Does that set off any alarm bells for you, Glenn?

    A system designed to protect us where the scientists who find problems are so gagged by the power structure in place that they have to resort to such extreme acts to be heard?

    Your misfit theory is government propaganda. Hope you decide to question it some day.

  • Cindy

    Oh, one more thing, Glenn. Just to be clear. Nothing I have said addresses the ‘goodness’ of people. Actually, that is irrelevant to my point.

    I’d like to use these two experiments, (each video is only a few minutes) to explain: The replicated Milgram experiment on authority. (Which, for a second time, demonstrated the same effect as the first time when Milgram did it, and supports the points I have been making.) and the Zimbardo prison experiment, which might clear up what I have been trying get across about culture. The video below presents Zimbardo’s analysis that I find helpful.

    Zimbardo says it this way (6 minute video): The problem of violence, evil, whatever you want to call it, comes about when people are able to give up personal responsibility for what they do and put the responsibility on something else–like their job, their corporate imperative to make profit, the military, their boss, the law, whatever. As soon as a person can say, I was/am only doing my job, those conditions can become an incubator for any pathology introduced into the system.

    So, you see, it is not about good people. It is about systems and what makes a good systems.

    In my view, we need to change the system. The people will easily adapt. People generally are, imo good–given the chance.

    (My educational focus has mostly been about how we can give people that chance from infancy onward.)

  • Igor

    @102-Cindy: yes, people eagerly give up responsibility to hide behind group irresponsibility. I think it was Thorsten Veblen who called it “collective irresponsibility”.

    Of course, the primary idea of “Incorporating” is to achieve collective irresponsibility. All of the owners are excused from responsibility so no one is responsible.

  • Cindy

    Not that I am disagreeing, Igor, as there are plenty enough people eager to avoid responsibility. But the outcome of the two experiments indicates that, within our culture, at least, it does not seem to really matter whether we are eager to give up responsibility or not.

    The culture we have created has made it so that this will happen whether or not the individuals actually want to give up responsibility or, in some cases, may not want to do so.

    Thus, my point that participation is beyond the ‘goodness’ of the person involved. We are trained to do this by our culture.

    (Except for everyone in my psychology class or anyone else I have ever talked to–none of us are subject to the effects of our social conditioning, because we are generally above such stuff or smarter than [insert whomever].)


  • Cindy

    Here is Part II in the Milgram experiment for those who wish it. As it says a the end of Part I, it is, indeed, even more disturbing.

  • Cindy


    Better late than never.

    Part I

    Good food. Responsibly.

    Smithfield Foods is a global food company that goes above and beyond to provide good food in a responsible manner. We remain 100 percent committed to…animal care…

    Our Core Values – We will constantly strive: To advance animal care.

    My research indicates that Smithfield has zero concern about the welfare of its animals (beyond its own profit interest) and actually tortures them every single day of their lives. The Humane Society launched an undercover investigation and released its report and video in 2010. Below is a link to a snippet of that video which not only shows what gestation crates are, but details the outrageous inhumane treatment of hogs at Smithfield. The most basic needs of the animal are denied. The animal spends its entire life unable to walk or to even turn around. The undercover inspector witnessed still living and breathing, injured pigs piled into dumpsters among other intentionally inflicted cruelties.

    Undercover at Smithfield Foods

    In 2007 Smithfield created its own timeline for phasing out gestation crates. It gave itself a generous 10 years to cease its unconsciounably cruel practice. By 2009 it already renigged on its own committment citing the economy. Soon after, it had record profits and still did not recommit to end its gestation crate practice. Only after the HUmane society video and report did Smithfield agree to reinstate its 2017 deadline for ending the use of gestation crates.

    I have recently read something by the CEO where, in 2012, he said over the next 10 years the hogs would be given more room.

    Smithfield keeps evolving, Pope says. He claims that, over the next 10 years, the company will implement changes — such as increasing the amount of space in pens…

    So, I am confused. Is it 2017 or are they going to take another 10 years from the date of the comment in 2012. That would allow another 10 years to torture animals while saying they are great humanitarians committed to improvement.

    This seems to be a typical corporate move. Hem, haw, and contine bad practices, then when pushed to the wall by bad press, recommit and play the humaitarian card all over again to get better publicity, then just do the bare minimum toward change or nothing at all–whatever you can get away with.

    (This is what Cadbury, Nestle, and Hershey, among others, did in regards to child slavery in the chocolate industry. Their purchases of chocolate has created a conditionon the Ivory Coast of Africa, where children are kidnapped and/or sold into slavery to be abused, neglected, and murdered. When they got enough bad publicity, they committed to stop purchasing the chocolate (read cheaper) that endagers childrens’ lives and to end child slavery in the chocolate industry. Like Smithfield, they gave themselves a generous timeframe and then–they just simply did not do what they said they would. They did absolutely nothing. They did not give a shit about anything beyond the publicity saying they would stop gave them.)

  • Cindy

    That should be Cadbury, Nestle, and Hershey continue to do, rather than ‘did’.

  • Christopher Rose

    Cindy, not sure why you are posting that but I can only respond as I did the first time, that I don’t see any connection between these company’s PR lines (aka cynical fucking lies) and liberalism.

    What I do see is a persistent trend on your part that is always looking for the negative, whilst either ignoring or dismissing the positive. Apart from the way that it will always be a self fulfilling exercise, I don’t see how it helps to focus on a partial picture like that, particularly as it is apparently misleading you as to what is liberalism and what is tokenism. You seem to be in the rather odd position of being cynical but not cynical enough!

  • Cindy

    I am not sure what you mean about liberalism. I am speaking to the idea that corporations are evolving.

    What I do see is a persistent trend on your part that is always looking for the negative…

    Well, that is fair enough from a person who admittedly (aka Chevron) hasn’t looked at the negative realities. I happened to actually have looked at them.

    Reality is what informs my opinions. You seem to call reality negativism. Perhaps I should do like you–have faith in what the fuck ever I imagine to be the truth. Faith in the coming benevolence of corporations via optimism is what apparently informs yours.

    It is always impossible for me to have a meaningful conversation with a faithist therefore this one is over.

  • troll

    …thank you for playing and remember every lucky contestant takes home a lovely smithfield smoked ham

  • Christopher Rose

    One of us, and it may be me, is slightly confused.

    I believe I originally made the point that companies are evolving, to which you responded “What I see is that corporations are mostly evolving in more harmful directions” before moving on to a more substantive remark about “socially responsible people… who own a huge corporation… who are liberals, run their business as a sexist enterprise. They have zero female sales people because it is run in the typical ‘old boys network’ booze and golf style”. That is what I was responding to today in not seeing your point about liberalism, which you frequently and, in my understanding of it, inaccurately criticise.

    Nor do I see how posting one, two, three or even three hundred examples of companies behaving badly has anything to do with my point about corporate evolution; companies are clearly evolving, although not all companies are good or necessarily evolving in totally positive ways by any means.

    You say that it is reality that informs your opinions but reality would require also noticing and acknowledging the good that is happening in the corporate world and I can’t actually recall you ever having posted anything about that. As such, I do indeed think you are being negative and not realistic.

    You are completely wrong to state that I have “faith in what the fuck ever I imagine to be the truth. Faith in the coming benevolence of corporations via optimism is what apparently informs yours” and I’d really appreciate it if you’d stop making shit up and pay attention to what I actually write.

    Accusing me of being a faithist of any kind reveals either a total ignorance of my perspective, which would require you not to pay any heed to anything I write ever, or someone who is having a rather pathetic little baby tantrum. Either way, you do both of us a disservice. Having a meaningful conversation requires listening plus give and take, not making stuff up and attributing false views on people; I am frankly disappointed to see you being so feckless.

    Apparently you require complete agreement with your dogma and can not tolerate any debate or difference; I can’t actually reconcile that with your frequent propounding of anarchism, but maybe you can…

    troll, apart from Cindy’s vitriolic comments, I’ve never encountered the Smithfield brand anywhere, although I am partial to smoked ham. I am on a fairly strict calorie controlled diet at the moment and have been very surprised to learn that ham is much lower in calories than many vegetables!

  • troll

    …it should be little surprise that I – a troll – prefer the ‘other other white meat’

  • Christopher Rose

    I have absolutely no idea what the “other other white meat” is a reference to!

  • troll

    …I see the futility of it all now – Cindy is trying to discuss things with someone unfamiliar with Dirty Bastard

  • Christopher Rose

    I think you must mean the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard; heard some Wu Tang but am more of a Cypress Hill kind of guy…

  • troll

    gak sorry Chris – funny references only work when one gets them right…I meant Myers’ Fat Bastard

  • Christopher Rose

    Umm, not really my thing; I’ve been in the same room when some of those spoofs have been on but not really paid too much attention so they aren’t really part of my culture.

    Must say, I thought Wu Tang references were a bit too hip for you!