Google’s Legalize Love, and the Hate It Aims to Eradicate

The search engine giant has found a fight more pressing than gay marriage.

Google employees represent at 2012 London Pride. (Photo: Flickr)

Jul 11, 2012
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Launched to a bit of wishful confusion earlier this week, Google’s Legalize Love campaign is an immoderately ambitious blend of corporate branding and social action.

Same-sex sexual activity is criminal activity in 78 countries.

Initially reported as a global push to legalize same-sex marriage throughout the world—including such developing backwaters as Florida, Texas, Alaska, Michigan and Minnesota—Legalize Love was clarified by a Google spokesman as “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.”

At the risk of disappointing gay marriage advocates, Google’s clarification is a wakeup call to the status, or lack of status, of LGBT people globally.

MORE: How Homophobia Fuels Africa’s AIDS Epidemic

According to a report the Global Commission on HIV and the Law released almost simultaneously with Google’s Legalize Love announcement, same-sex sexual activity is criminal activity in 78 countries.

So, just in case you’re of the opinion that Google should leave the rest of the world to its legislative intolerance and power up a U.S. gay marriage bandwagon, consider a few example atrocities turned up by a single Google search for penalties imposed upon same-sex activity:

  • Palestinian Territories (Gaza): Up to 10 years in prison, unless female, which is legal.
  • Palestinian Territories (West Bank): Legal since 1951.
  • Saudi Arabia: Death, fines, whipping.
  • United Arab Emirates: Deportation, fines, prison, death.
  • Yemen: Flogging, death.
  • Iran: Death.
  • Burma: Up to life in prison.
  • Malaysia: Fines, two to 20 years in prison, whippings.
  • Algeria: Up to two years in prison.
  • Libya: Up to five years in prison.
  • South Sudan: Up to 10 years in prison.
  • Sudan: Up to life in prison, death.
  • Somaliland: Deportation, up to life in prison, death.
  • Kenya: Up to 14 years in prison.
  • Tanzania: Up to life imprisonment.
  • Liberia: Fine.
  • Angola: Labor camps for habitual offenders.
  • Mauritania: Death.

If you had the choice between establishing gay marriage in America, or making same-sex activity legal the world over, which would you pick?

Yes, yes, this is an unfair, Sophie’s Choice proposition. Leave all your thoughts about that in COMMENTS.

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