Earlier today, a California judge overturned Prop 8, a referendum banning same sex marriage, deeming it unconstitutional. Great news! Here's a quick rundown of the tech companies that contributed to bringing about this historic ruling.
Back in October of 2008, with voting on the hotly contested Prop 8 imminent, Apple contributed $US100,000 to fighting the measure and offered this statement:
Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees' same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person's fundamental rights— including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.
They weren't the only ones. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page contributed a combined $US140,000 to the "No on 8" campaign, and Google issued a statement on the proposition on their official blog:
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.
Beyond those individual companies, several tech titans banded together to form a group opposed to the proposition, named "Silicon Valley Leaders Say NO on Proposition 8." Those individuals, who collectively put out the ad to the right, include:
Bill Campbell, Chairman, Intuit Inc. David Filo, Founder, Yahoo! Inc. Chuck Geschke, Founder & Chairman, Adobe Systems, Inc. John Morgridge, Former CEO & Chairman, Cisco Systems, Inc. Pierre Omidyar, Founder and Chairman, eBay Inc., Founding Partner, Omidyar Network Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google, Inc. Jerry Yang, Founder, Yahoo! Inc.
And while Prop 8 passed that November, 52 per cent to 48 per cent, it seems that today's ruling is the rare item that a good deal of Silicon Valley, even its fiercest competitors, can agree is great news. [LA Times, All Things D]