Two more major California businesses took a stand this week against Proposition 8, which would eliminate marriage equality. There are now two co-chairs of the No on 8 Campaign Equality Business Council:
Levi Strauss & Co., one of the oldest and most prestigious clothing and apparel companies in the world today, joined PG&E as co-chair of the No on 8 Campaign Equality Business Council.
"As a company with a long history of standing up for equality, civil rights and social justice on behalf of our employees and other stakeholders, we are proud to co-chair the business council with our friends at PG&E,” said John Anderson, President and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.
Additionally, Levi Strauss Chairman Emeritus (and great-great-grand-nephew of the founder) Robert Haas and his wife announced a $100,000 grant to the No on 8 campaign. This matches the $100,000 grant announced earlier by Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, and a $100,000 gift from Brad Pitt.
As an Internet company, Google is an active participant in policy debates surrounding information access, technology and energy. Because our company has a great diversity of people and opinions — Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, all religions and no religion, straight and gay — we do not generally take a position on issues outside of our field, especially not social issues. So when Proposition 8 appeared on the California ballot, it was an unlikely question for Google to take an official company position on.
However, while there are many objections to this proposition — further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text — it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 — we should not eliminate anyone’s fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.
From our progressive perch, these may seem like sensible and sane steps: good corporate governance in a world that values tolerance and diversity. But these companies and individuals have taken a risk, don’t doubt it. Stockholders don’t like to think sales might go down because customers are upset about a stand their company has taken. These fundie boycotts never amount to anything, but they can scare folks in the executive suites. And get William Donohue on teevee.
I’m sure we’ll see fundies burning their blue jeans and VHS copies of Mr & Mrs Smith sometime soon.
So, support these brave supporters of California marriage equality: buy a pair of 501s, turn your thermostat up, do yet another Sarah Palin search on Google, put E.T. and Thelma & Louise in your NetFlix queue!