The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Apple has donated $100,000 for the No on Prop 8 campaign. Proposition 8 is a California referendum that aims to pass the “Marriage Protection Act” which would outlaw gay marriage. Apple may gain some customers who approve of gay marriage, but most people won’t buy a computer just because Apple supports gay marriage. On the other hand, opponents of gay marriage may decide they would rather purchase a laptop from company that don’t overtly supports gay marriage. Claremont University Marketing Professor Peter Sealey claims that Apple’s decision could drive away customers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. From a marketing point of view, Apple seems to be making a big mistake.
So why would Apple give money to one side of such a controversial issue?
One reason may be that Apple is not trying to appeal to its customers, but its employees. Apple is based in Silicon Valley. Many of its employees are likely young, liberal, and favor gay rights. Thus, the support of gay marriage may be a ploy to appeal to the sentiments of Silicon Valley techies.
Or there is a third possibility. Apple may just be following the ideals of its workers, managers, and shareholders. “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”
- The Healthcare Economist endorses a NO vote on Proposition 8.