Legislators in Washington state plan to vote on a major gay civil rights bill this Friday which has been endorsed by dozens of high-profile corporations. Microsoft was apparently among those endorsing the bill, but according to Seattle’s paper The Stranger in an article to be published tomorrow, the corporation has secretly withdrawn the endorsement after a radical right activist reportedly told executives that if they continued supporting the bill he would launch a nationwide boycott of the company.
If Microsoft refuses to change its position regarding the legislation, it would mark a disturbing turn against both its gay and lesbian employees and the LGBT community at large by a corporation that in the past has received awards for its gay-friendly policies.
AmericaBlog reports that voting on the bill is so close that the withdrawal of Microsoft’s support may kill the pro-gay legislation.
According to The Stranger, “House Bill 1515 would protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, banking, insurance, and other matters by adding sexual orientation to a state law which already bars discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, and mental or physical handicap.”
In a “broader general review of company policy” Microsoft apparently doesn’t want gays and lesbians to have these rights. The Stranger reports that DeLee Shoemaker, who handles state level government relations for the company bragged that “no one will know” whether or not Microsoft’s withdrawal killed the bill if and when that does happen.
Microsoft may very well find itself at the center of a nationwide boycott.
AmericaBlog’s report is well worth the read.
TAKE ACTION: Microsoft abandons gays [americablog]