I guess the light that shone on Microsoft was too bright – they caved and announced they will support gay rights. It’s too bad they flip-flopped around on this issue, but I do think it’s great that such a big money corporation is willing to publicly state they support gay rights. Bravo, Microsoft.
Continue reading this entry for an article from the Associated Press.
CEO says Microsoft will support future gay-rights legislation
Elizabeth M. Gillespie, Associated Press
May 7, 2005
SEATTLE — After being criticized for dropping support for a state gay-rights bill, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer told employees Friday that management would publicly back such legislation in the future.
Ballmer’s commitment came two weeks after activists accused Microsoft of caving to pressure from an evangelical pastor who had threatened to launch a nationwide boycott.
“After looking at the question from all sides, I’ve concluded that diversity in the workplace is such an important issue for our business that it should be included in our legislative agenda,” Ballmer wrote in an e-mail.
In late April, Lorri Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, asked Microsoft to return a civil rights award the group gave the company four years ago. Friday, she said Microsoft should keep the honor.
Ballmer said he would not discuss what prompted Microsoft to take a neutral stance this year on a bill it had actively supported in the past.
Microsoft, one of the first companies to extend domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples, said its decision came before a meeting with Ken Hutcherson, pastor of a local church who has organized anti-gay-marriage rallies in Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Hutcherson could not be reached for comment Friday. He has said he pressured Microsoft after hearing two employees testify in favor of a bill before the Legislature that would have banned discrimination against gays in housing, employment and insurance.
The bill died by a single vote in the state Senate on April 21.
Liberal bloggers called the company a corporate coward and posted rallying cries for their own boycott of Microsoft products. Gay-rights groups said they’d pressure Microsoft until the company again came out in support of the bill.