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Microsoft, Others Boycotted For Supporting Washington Gay Rights Bill


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Microsoft, Others Boycotted For Supporting Washington Gay Rights Bill

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 17, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Olympia, Washington) A Redmond, Washington evangelist has called a national boycott of Microsoft and three other major Washington-based corporations that are supporting an LGBT civil rights bill in the state legislature.

The legislation would add sexuality to the state's human rights law and ban discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and insurance.

"We're tired of sitting around thinking that morals can be ignored in our country," the Reverend Ken Hutcherson told The Associated Press.

"This is not a threat, this is a promise. Check out the past presidential election. We made the moral issue the No. 1 issue."

Hutcherson's church meets a short distance from Microsoft's Redmond headquarters.

He successfully got Microsoft to withdraw its support of a similar bill last year under the threat of a boycott. The gay rights bill failed by one vote in the Washington state Senate after having passed the House. (story)

A new bill will be introduced this session and the Republican Senator who cast the deciding vote last year now says he will support the legislation. (story)

The sudden withdrawal of Microsoft's support last year was met with anger by the state's LGBT community. CEO Steve Ballmer in an email to the computer giant's employees denied that the company had made a deal with Hutcherson to avoid a boycott.

Ballmer claimed that the company had made its decision before the legislative session began that it should to narrow its focus on a shorter list of issues directly affecting the business. (story)

The email did little to quell the outrage. Even an attempt by Microsoft chair Bill Gates to quiet opposition failed.

When Democrats announced they would reintroduce the LGBT rights bill Microsoft announced it would support the bill. Last week it joined Boeing, Hewlett Packard and Nike in signing a letter to lawmakers urging passage of the measure.

Hutcherson said his call for a national boycott would include all of the companies that signed the letter.

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos told the Associated Press Monday night that the company would not change its position. He declined to comment further.

Boeing spokesman Peter Conte said the company had no plans to withdraw its support for the legislation.

"The position that we have taken is one that we do feel strongly about," he told the AP. "It is entirely consistent with our own internal practices and policies."

Other companies did not return phone calls on Monday.

LGBT groups in the state have been fighting for 30 years for an anti-discrimination law.

©365Gay.com 2006


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A lot of good a boycott will do. Just about every computer in this country uses a MS operating system. So they may not buy anything made by Microsoft, but they will be using them.

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