On Monday, Google launched “Legalize Love,” a global campaign that will not push for worldwide legalization of gay marriage despite the assumptions of many Internet articles and users. The initiative will focus on human rights and employment discrimination by forming alliances with companies overseas and supporting grassroots organizing efforts. It will begin in nations where prejudicial laws make life difficult for LGBT people, and eventually expand into more liberal countries where there remains work to be done towards procuring equal rights.
Although Google’s new activist approach is consistent with a trend among major corporations to become more politically engaged, too many other corporations are using their influence to support partisan agendas. This is troubling, and it has resulted, to an even greater degree since the decision set forth in Citizens United, in disproportionate amounts of campaign fundsflowing from corporate entities to political candidates likely to further bigbusiness aims.
However, companies like Google and Nabisco -- with its instantly famous rainbow Oreo -- have found ways to harness their capital and visibility to influence the community, without jeopardizing the electoral process. Google, one of the world's most innovative companies, and Oreo, arguably America's most iconic cookie, are fitting brands to embrace LGBT rights -- a step that is both modern and rooted in classic American notions of liberty.
Still, to an overwhelming extent, corporations are profit driven, and Google and Nabisco are not exceptions. The fact is no company would proclaim its support for gay rights if it was at all concerned that activism might hurt business. But tech giants like Google, with its near monopoly over the web, have little to fear when it comes to profitability.
Snack companies like Nabisco, one of the largest food corporations in the world and a subsidiary of Kraft Foods, are probably safe, too. Despite many Facebook commentators’ vows to boycott Nabisco after it posted a photo of its “Gay Pride Rainbow Oreo,” the photo has received 296,474 “likes” and 90,626 shares as of today. If anything, Nabisco’s public advocacy for gay rights and underlying issues of equality places it ahead of the curve on a hot topic social issue. It may even help garner loyalty from LGBT consumers and the multitudes that support them. On top of that, it takes serious willpower not to crave an Oreo after you’ve seen their sextuple-stuffed, who-cares-if-it’s-fake cookie. Sweet, sweet equality.