Has Same-Sex Marriage Controversy Caused Google To Retreat From Open Gay Support?

During Gay Pride celebrations last year Google was very visible in its support, with banner-carrying employees attending various events throughout the world including Chicago, San Francisco, Dublin, and Jerusalem. This year it’s hard to understand what position Google is taking given the way they are displaying the rainbow symbol of the LGBT community, including searches including the words “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” “transgender,” and “LGBT.”

Google Gay Search Rainbow

Last year the Official Google blog stated “Nearly 300 Googlers marched with colorful balloons down Market Street for San Francisco’s 40th annual Pride parade. We braved the rain in Boston, enjoyed the sun in New York, rode a trolley in Chicago and marched with the Israel Gay Youth Organization in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Googlers will be participating in EuroPride, held in Poland this year, as well as many other parades, including Tokyo for the first time. And we’ll be celebrating Pride season in Singapore too.”

Gay Googlers

The post went on to explain how Google was extending health benefits to same sex domestic partners and that the tax differences would be covered by the company.

As New York and other states debate the same sex marriage laws being voted on right now, it would appear Google may be stepping back a little with its limited addition of the rainbow as a search Easter egg.

Google, in response, said its support of marriage equality and gay rights has not wavered; it pointed out that it’s among the businesses signed up as supporters of “NY Business for Marriage

Last year there was also an outcry when Google chose to run a Doodle of Rosa Parks instead of one for National AIDS Day. Now it seems the addition of the rainbow for certain searches is just not gay enough, as the San Francisco Weekly puts it.

Nicholas Jackson at the Atlantic notes “This criticism should be tempered. I’m disappointed in Google’s decision today, but none of this is meant to demean the company’s previous work in support of gay rights, which includes a 90-second contribution to the It Gets Better Project that was televised nationally last month and a 2008 announcement in opposition to California’s Proposition 8. I just want the same treatment as Vivaldi, who was properly celebrated even 269 years after his death.”

We’ll have to wait until later in the week to see if Google banners are seen at various international city Pride parades. The company deserves the benefit of the doubt given their long standing support of the LGBT community and its vocal opposition of Proposition 8 that opposed same sex marriage in California.

Googlers Dublin Pride 2010

Google Response added: June 24th 2pm EST

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