Many of the California food bloggers who have Google Adsense ads on their sites were unpleasantly surprised to discover that ads in support of Proposition 8 were showing up on their sites yesterday. Prop 8 is a very hotly debated issue in the state, seeking to outlaw marriage between persons of the same sex. Gay marriage rights were recently won in California, and now the social dinosaurs want to turn back the clock and discriminate against consenting adults who want all the legal rights that other committed couples enjoy.
Once the ads were noticed, the word spread quickly on Twitter and from blog readers who complained that their favorite food blog had become offensive to their sense of equality and fair play . Bloggers quickly took steps to block the ads or remove them entirely from their site, until the election was over. Many bloggers, who normally avoided getting political on their sites, were so personally affronted by the ads that they posted their own statements in support of gay marriage rights on their sites in addition to blocking the ads. (I'm looking at you, Pim! and Kalyn!)
In these fractious political times, taking a stand can be hazzardous to a blog that depends upon maintaining a positive rapport with their readers. It takes courage to defend the rights of others, when risking one's own position to do so.
To all you bloggers that took the steps to remove and block the discriminatory ads, I commend you. You make me proud. Now I need to consider how (and if) I will get Google ad code back in my site, albeit with a new found respect for the double edged sword it can represent.