I don't care who Joe Buck supports for President. I just don't want to know. Thankfully, he's never shared his preference while describing plays of the World Series for Fox Sports, at least as far as I've ever heard. Likewise, I don't want to know the views of Robert Deniro on climate change, Susan Sarandon on economic policy or Sean Penn on immigration or national security. These people are skilled at entertaining, and I don't look to them to inform my views on anything else.
The same goes for Apple and its position on same-sex marriage. Yet the company has made it its position clear on Proposition 8, an initiative in Apple's home state of California seeking to bar same-sex couples from marrying.
On Oct. 24, 2009, the following statement appeared on the front page of Apple's Web site:
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 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.
Companies should exercise great caution when publicly disclosing positions on social issues; the risk is great of alienating potential customers on the opposite side. It's one thing for Toyota to advertise that it uses environmentally friendly processes and materials to make its cars. It's quite another to say it efforts help fight "global warming," which many scientists believe is beyond human control.
Apple is a technology company and people look to it for great and innovative products, not for guidance in the voting booth. As actors and announcers should stick to those arts, computer companies should stick to their areas of expertise or risk losing credibility and followers.