Can Google get foreign countries to embrace gay rights?

The internet giant is launching a global "Legalize Love" campaign for gay rights, but skeptics wonder if Singapore and Poland are really the best places to start

Google represents at the 2010 San Francisco Pride parade: The tech giant is taking its gay rights campaign worldwide with "Legalize Love" pushes in Singapore and Poland.
(Image credit: CC BY: stevendamron)

Google is pretty outspoken in its support for gay rights in the U.S., and now the web giant is taking its campaign worldwide, lobbying to changing hearts and minds in "countries with anti-gay laws on the books." Google announced its "Legalize Love" campaign at a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London, and will begin by focusing on Singapore and Poland, where it will develop partnerships with local companies and organizations to urge pro-gay-rights grassroots campaigns. Anna Peirano at 429 Magazine, who first reported on the campaign, described it as an effort to legalize gay marriage, but Google says it's actually a broader initiative to "decriminalize homosexuality and eliminate homophobia" in every country where the search giant operates. Google wants its gay, lesbian, and transgender employees "to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office," Google's Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe said at the London summit. "It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work." But could the "do no evil" company's push actually work?

If anyone can pull this off, it's Google: "Having lived in both Singapore and Poland, I feel sure that Google's task in each country will not be easy," says Chris Matyszczyk at CNET News. But that doesn't mean it's futile. For instance, I can imagine the "highly intelligent, rational, (and very well-paid) minds that run" Singapore being persuaded by Google's argument — and the lucrative business that Google and its "Legalize Love" partners can bring. Never forget: "Money is power, and power can change things."

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