UPDATE: This piece has been edited for clarity on the timeline for the legality of same-sex marriage in California.
Citing the vote as an issue of “a person’s fundamental rights,” Apple today made a $100,000 contribution to the NO on 8 campaign, an effort to defeat a measure on next Tuesday’s ballot in California that would overturn the state’s laws permitting same-sex couples to marry.
Apple’s contribution and public stance supporting the No on 8 campaign is noteworthy not only because it is rare for the company to take a public position on political matters, but also because it helps combat the effects of millions of dollars that have been spent by out-of-state religious groups on TV advertisements threatening dire consequences if gays are allowed the right to marry.
California gays and lesbians were first able to marry in 2004, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom arranged for ceremonies at City Hall. Conflicting rulings at the state level confused the issue until the California Supreme Court ruled this year to allow gay marriages throughout the state on equal protection grounds.
The Apple announcement came on the heels of similar public support for defeating the Proposition from Google. Sergey Brin, CEO of the Mountain View-based company wrote in the company blog, “we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument [but] 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.”
Apple’s Hot News release on the matter says, “Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.”