Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Microsoft announces support for gay rights

In a great victory, Microsoft has decided to change course and throw its support behind the gay civil rights legislation that died at the end of last session as HB 1515:
After being criticized for quietly dropping support for a state gay rights bill, Microsoft Corp. chief executive Steve Ballmer told employees Friday that management would publicly back such legislation in the future.
We predicted that Microsoft would realize its error and throw its support behind the bill weeks ago.

And it's partly thanks to pressure from us. We're having an effect:
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 keep pressuring Microsoft until the company once again came out in support of the bill. And a prominent gay rights group asked for repossession of a civil rights award it bestowed on Microsoft four years ago.
When our efforts make the AP news stories, we know we're having an effect. A boycott wasn't necessary, nor would it have achieved anything, and the "Powered by Bigotry" buttons were uncalled for.

We should be making the other side boycott Microsoft - and now we've done it. They've clearly committed to backing this legislation in the future. As far as we're concerned, the Rev. Ken Hutcherson can go buy himself an Apple or a Linux desktop computer. Go ahead and start your boycott. We dare you to.

Here's highlights from what Microsoft CEO Ballmer said:
Obviously, the Washington State legislative session has concluded for this year, but if legislation similar to HB 1515 is introduced in future sessions, we will support it.

This situation has also made me stop and think about how well we are living our values. I'm deeply encouraged by how many employees have sent me passionate emails about the broad respect for diversity they experience every day at Microsoft.

I also heard from some employees who underscored the importance of feeling that their personal values or religious beliefs are respected by others.

I'm adamant that we must do an even better job of pursuing diversity and mutual respect within Microsoft. I expect everyone at this company - particularly managers - to take a hard look at their personal commitment to diversity, and redouble that commitment.
This is very good news. Microsoft and Ballmer should be applauded for correcting course when they made a mistake.

<< Home