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Google plants rainbow flag in anti-gay countries

Ads giant wants homophobic nations to 'legalise love'

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Longtime gay rights campaigner Google has kicked off a new effort to "legalise love" in countries that criminalise homosexuality.

At a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London late last week, the web giant's European head of diversity and inclusion, Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, reportedly outlined the initiative.

According to Gay Star News, the Google wonk mentioned Singapore and Poland as the starting points for the rainbow flag-waving search engine's campaign.

"Singapore wants to be a global financial centre and world leader, and we can push them on the fact that being a global centre and a world leader means you have to treat all people the same, irrespective of their sexual orientation," he was quoted as saying.

The company plans to eventually tackle issues of homophobia and anti-gay legislation wherever its offices are based.

"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," added Palmer-Edgecumbe.

He noted during the panel discussion at the LGBT summit that Google and its mobile workforce operate in dozens of countries - but claimed that the company had been unable to place employees in certain nations due to the restrictions in place regarding homosexuality.

"Conversely we have had to move people out of countries where they have been experiencing homophobia to a different location. And we are also having to support staff in those countries in terms of relationships with the government and homophobia they are experiencing outside of the office," he added.

Google later clarified the aims of its campaign to the Washington Post:

Though our business and employees are located in offices around the world, our policies on non-discrimination are universal throughout Google. We are proud to be recognised as a leader in LGBT inclusion efforts, but there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality. Legalise Love is our call to decriminalise homosexuality and eliminate homophobia around the world.

At Google, we encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. In all of our 60 offices around the world, we are committed to cultivating a work environment where Googlers can be themselves and thrive. 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.

A Google spokesman told The Register:

'Legalise Love' is a campaign to promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office in countries with anti-gay laws on the books.

If there are any homophobes pondering a boycott of Google's search engine, advertising platform and associated products as a result of this campaign, they'll have to look hard for an alternative service: Microsoft's Bing won't be an option either given that the Windows giant's bosses back gay marriage. ®

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