Both companies have a history of remaining politically neutral, but have chosen to take sides on this issue because it relates directly to the civil rights and opportunities of their employees.
In its Hot News feed, the company stated, "Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employeesâ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a personâs fundamental rights â including the right to marry â 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."
Earlier, Google co-founder and president Sergey Brin wrote in the Official Google Blog, "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."
The No on 8 campaign notes that "Virtually every major paper in California is against Prop 8. The L.A. Times says it is 'a drastic step to strip people of rights.' La OpiniÃ³n called Prop 8 'an unnecessary initiative.' The San Diego Union Tribune wrote that Prop 8 'offends many Californians' sense of fairness.'"
Apple's $100,000 contribution to the No on 8 campaign is significant because the effort to stop the proposition has been systematically outgunned by out-of-state religious groups, who have poured cash into TV advertisements that threaten dire consequences if gays' right to marry continue in the state. Among other claims, the ads state that if the proposition isn't passed, California schools will force children to study gay marriage.
That claim prompted California Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell to announce that the proposition "has nothing to do with schools or kids. Our schools aren't required to teach anything about marriage, and using kids to lie about that is shameful."
In reality, California gays and lesbians have been able to marry since 2004, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom arranged for ceremonies at City Hall, which led to a landmark state Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. None of the claims pushed by Prop 8 supporters have occurred over the last four years.