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Google opposes ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage

September 26, 2008 |  8:01 pm

Google co-founder Sergey BrinGoogle has taken the unusual step of publicly opposing Proposition 8, an upcoming ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in California.

The initiative has quickly become a bitter and divisive political fight, with California becoming a battleground as donations pour in from around the nation.

Same-sex marriage became legal in California in June after the state Supreme Court ruled a ban was unconstitutional, setting the stage for the ballot proposal that would make same-sex marriage illegal.

Google routinely and robustly exerts political influence in Washington in the realm of technology and energy. But it rarely ventures into social issues that can be a lightning rod for criticism.

Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, noted in a blog post that Google is "an active participant" in policy debates that relate to its core businesses. He also points out that Google lays claim to a "diversity of people and opinions," Democrats and Republicans, convseratives and liberals, straight and gay. He acknowledged that it was an "unlikely question" for Google to take a stand on this initiative. But for Google, he says, it became an "issue of equality."

"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."

It is unclear whether Google will take further steps to oppose the ballot initiative. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

Another company that has publicly opposed Proposition 8 is San Francisco's Pacific Gas & Electric.

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Sergey Brin Credit: EPA / Peter Foley

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