Pastor Ken Hutcherson Back for Another Round with Microsoft?

You may remember back in 2005 when Microsoft quietly withdrew its support of Washington state anti-discrimination HB 1515, and was accused of doing so because of pressure from right-wing religious leader Reverend Ken Hutcherson.

HutchersonSeattle paper The Stranger explained the bill at the time: “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.”

The controversy prompted both a letter from CEO Steve Ballmer, which Towleroad first published, in which Ballmer denied any pressure from Hutcherson in its withdrawal of support for the bill. Said Ballmer at the time: “There have been several news stories that imply that Microsoft changed its position on an anti-discrimination bill, HB 1515, because of pressure from a conservative religious group. I want to make it clear that that is not the case.”

The memo prompted a letter from gay and lesbian employees at Microsoft demanding reinstatement of support and an investigation into the company’s dealings with Hutcherson. Hutcherson offered details of the meeting that clearly implicated the corporation, but in the end Hutcherson never got his way.

You may also remember Hutcherson from recent claims that he made trips to Latvia as a “special envoy” of the U.S. State Department where he met with anti-gay leaders. He said the trips were sanctioned by the White House and that he had a letter proving it. Hutcherson did make the trips, but as far as I know never produced evidence of the U.S. government’s letter.

Now, he appears to be back for another round, threatening executives at a shareholders meeting last week that he would be their “worst nightmare” if the company continues to support gay rights.

MicrosoftHutcherson claims Microsoft is the first corporate target “in an escalation of the culture wars between evangelicals and corporate America” and is asking “millions of evangelical activists, as well as Orthodox Jewish and other allies, to buy up Microsoft shares and demand a return to traditional values.”

Said Hutcherson to the UK’s Telegraph: “There are 256 Fortune 500 companies alone pouring millions upon millions of dollars into pushing the homosexual agenda. I consider myself a warrior for Christ. Microsoft don’t scare me. I got God with me. I told them that you need to work with me or we will put a firestorm on you like you have never seen in you life because I am your worst nightmare. I am a black man with a righteous cause with a whole host of powerful white people behind me…Microsoft stepped out of their four walls into my world so that gives me the right to step out of my world into their world. They tried to turn their policy into state policy, making their policy something I had to submit to. And my playbook [the bible] tells me you don’t submit to sin…I don’t care how big Microsoft is. They are nothing but a feather in the wind of God. America basically got started with a tea party and Goliath, if I’m not mistaken, got taken down by David, who believed in the same cause I believe in. I’m going to go after the new Goliath with one little rock called a share and I’m going to make them tremble before we get through.”

Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith reportedly told shareholders “it was up to [them] to continue their longstanding support of Microsoft’s diversity policy, which includes an internal ‘affinity employee group’ called the Gay and Lesbian Employees At Microsoft (GLEAM).”

Hutcherson’s past controversies have not proven that he has much power, but have shown that he can at least raise a big stink.

Pastor to take on Microsoft over gay rights [telegraph uk]
Notes from MSFT’s annual shareholders meeting [seattle post-intelligencer]

Microsoft Secretly Withdraws Endorsement of Gay Rights Bill [tr]


  1. yoshi says

    All bark and no bite. Also this guy hasn’t proved too bright. He should take a page from the AFA’s playbook. Pick a mismanaged corporation (say Ford) in a dying american industry (say automobiles) with huge longterm liabilities (say pension) and “boycott” them. Then release a press release every quarter right after that corporation releases its numbers (usually bad) triumphing how effective the boycott is (when in fact it really has no effect.)

    But to go after Microsoft? pleaze…

  2. says

    Maybe we should gather our people and force this man out of the public eye and back into his bigoted church where he belongs.

    Those fuckin’ “God” people are worse than the Taliban.

    If you can’t accept everyone, you need to leave America.

  3. Rad says

    What’s worse is all you have to do is buy one share of stock and you will have access to the shareholders meetings.

    AT&T had a similar irritant who would buy a hand full of shares, then demand that the company shareholders had to vote down all-inclusive anti-discrimination statements.

    Of course the issue was wholly shot down, but morons like that would keep doing it and doing it, over and over again until finally the board said “NO MORE” on making it an issue to dump before the shareholders. They sold their handfull of shares and left. But what a collossal piece of shit and waste of corporate time.

    I think when crap like that happens, the shareholders should launch a class action lawsuit back against these idiots for trying to cause trouble.

  4. the queen says

    I’ll wager the Hutch has his own private issues with homosexuality which have nothing to do with Jesus. Most of his ilk find justification for their innate bigotry and intolerance in certain passages in the Bible. And as we all know not once did jebus mention anything about homosexuality. It never was an issue with him but then sexuality didn’t seem to be. He was on good terms with Mary Magdelene, the most famous harlot of all time. But the christers are obsessed with sex simply because they can’t handle their own sexuality and are ashamed of it. I think most christers should turn to a good therapist instead of jebus.

  5. Derrick from Philly says

    Your absolutely right, THE QUEEN. That’s my theory too. These big ass preachers really have a thing for pretty men themselves–their homophobia is truly a fear of their own homosexuality. But why is it that all the most vocal homophobes tend to be ugly men. Y’all ever seen a handsome homophobic gay basher? No, it’s always the ugly motha fuckas.

    Dear, I never know whether to address you as “THE QUEEN” or Your Majesty. It’s an issue I think about often.

  6. john hewett says

    Let him go ahead with his threats…if Microsoft is too spineless to support anit-discriminaton then so be it, let them deal with this jesus-freak.
    We deserve more.
    Don’t support Microsoft…buy a Mac.

  7. Disgusted American says

    This guy is a disgusting Bigot…obviously he doesn’t know the writings of 2 of America’s most famous Civil Rights Leaders/MLK JR and his Wife….and that a Black Gay Man Helped pen the ” I Have a Dream Speech”..and that Gays and Lesbians Marched in Selma,and other marches for Blacks civil rights, when Gays had ZERO rights….this man is SCUM!

  8. Derrick from Philly says

    “David, who believed in the same cause…”

    Idiot doesn’t even know his Bible. He never heard of David’s deep passion for Jonathon. Companies such as Microsoft should be ashamed to admit to even speaking to fanatic fools like Hutcherson.

    Wonder how much Latvian dingdong he tasted when he was over there…probably didn’t even make it to Latvia…got stranded in Milwaukee, saw the snow, and figured he’d arrived.

  9. Tread says

    “Microsoft don’t scare me.”

    For someone who doesn’t seem to have mastered the English language, it’s pretty laughable to try and lead a charge against one of America’s largest and most diverse corporations.

  10. amies says

    The Christian Taliban is here and is taking over. This is quite scary that people like this exist in 2007.

    I wonder how he feels about all those christians who used christian passages to justify slavery?

  11. says

    I wonder why he doesn’t pick on other sinners (such as single mothers). The Bible has very clear instructions (i.e., stoning) on what to do about that “sin”. Of course, if he kicked those folks out of his church, the offering plate would be less full. Interesting how money works even on the most self-righteous.

  12. says

    The Southern Baptist Ass ociation (space intentional) recently kicked the First Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC out of their association for “allowing” Gays in their church. I, too, wonder why some religious folks pick and choose which “sins” deserve such “special” attention.

  13. Jeff says

    Between this, the Obama/McClurkin controversy, the SBC kicking out the NC church, and the Episcopals basically splitting in two… we should be proud of ourselves, fellas! We’re wreakin’ havoc all over Christendom.

    No matter how people feel about our cause being equated with the Civil Rights movement of 40 and 50 years ago, it’s clear we are now in just the opening throes of a Culture War that will probably outlive all of us.

    Think we’re not going anywhere? All they have to wait for is for everybody else to disappear because Jebus is here to save them. They got nothin’ but time, and plan on doing nothing else with it but to make level-headed people’s lives a living hell.

    Shine up your bayonets, girls. We got a long way to go.

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