Microsoft Secretly Withdraws Endorsement of Gay Rights Bill

MicrosoftLegislators 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but according to Seattle’s paper The Stranger in an article to be published tomorrow, the corporation has secretly withdrawn the endorsement after a radical right activist reportedly told executives that if they continued supporting the bill he would launch a nationwide boycott of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]

Comments

  1. Greg says

    “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.”

    Let her hear it!

    Email to:

    delee.shoemaker@gov.wa.gov

  2. Greg says

    Crap.. I think that is an outdated email address…

    Nothing like someone “bragging” about turning their backs on ten years of anti-discrimination support!

  3. says

    Boycott Microsoft? For who? Apple? I’m sure Apple is completely pro-gay as well.

    Let’s face it, these religious right bigots don’t even BELIEVE in technology, let alone use it. Their boycott will have ZERO impact on Microsoft’s business.

  4. tom says

    Microsoft appears to be in a “damned if you and damned if you don’t position”. Hopefully they do the right thing and support the bill.

    And I agree about Apple. Any company that names itself after a fruit would seem pretty gay friendly.

    Maybe the conservatives should just invent their own company that makes computers out of rocks and old chewing gum and run on Jesus Power.

  5. says

    Letting Microsoft–and anyone else involved in this–hear from us is the main thing. A boycott probably won’t have traction, but we need to make sure our voices are heard!

  6. WM says

    It’s easy to boycott Microsoft, and you don’t have to buy an Apple either…Linux! It’s free (!), easy to use, and non-discriminatory :-)

    Here’s my favourite flavour: http://www.mepis.org/node/68

    Just download the CD image, burn it to a disc and boot it up. It’s that simple…if you don’t like it, you’re only out one CD-R…

  7. ed says

    As a gay employee at Ms, this is very disturbing. Seems very odd for the company to support domestic partner benefits and then do this. Also, MS is not one to be pushed around easily…. I’m hoping that this isn’t true. Internal MS email among us gay folk is already abuzz.

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