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Monday, September 14, 2009

The Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, Nike, Puget Sound Energy, RealNetworks and Vulcan Inc.: Vote to Approve Referendum 71

Posted by on Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 4:10 PM

In a move that's certain to draw fire from religious conservatives, five companies have come out gunning for Washington voters to approve Referendum 71, thereby upholding the domestic-partnership bill passed by the legislature this year. The Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, Nike, Puget Sound Energy, RealNetworks and Vulcan Inc issued an enlightened statement today, saying that they "respect and support employees with diverse backgrounds" and that "Overturning this law would undo years of equal rights progress made in Washington state. We do not believe that this step backward would be in the best interest for the future of our state."

"Money will follow from most of these groups, I'm sure. Certainly from us," says Vulcan spokesman David Postman. "We will be contributing $5,000. ... It takes everyone some time to get checks processed, etc. But we wanted to get the statement out as soon as possible to let people know where major employers stood. I think you'll see some significant corporate financial support in the coming weeks."

Conservatives have spat venom at companies that back gay-rights causes in the past. For instance, in 2007, Antioch Bible Church Pastor Ken Hutcherson famously threatened company leaders of Microsoft, which has supported gay-rights bills, by attending a shareholders meeting and saying "I could work with you, or I could be your worst nightmare, because I am a black man with a righteous cause, with a host of powerful white people behind me."

The entire statement is after the jump.


We are a group of businesses who stand united together by the commonality of our companies’ core values, which respect and support employees with diverse backgrounds. We are committed to supporting our employees and our customers and to ensuring the health of our communities. Accordingly, we support the campaign to Approve Referendum 71.

Approving this referendum will preserve Senate Bill 5688, a measure passed by the Legislature in 2009 to extend to state-registered domestic partnerships the benefits, obligations and responsibilities that apply to traditional marriages. The law does not sanction or encourage same-sex marriage. It simply recognizes that, regardless of their sexual orientation, people may enter into partnerships and create family units that deserve respect and equal treatment.

Overturning this law would undo years of equal rights progress made in Washington state. We do not believe that this step backward would be in the best interest for the future of our state.

As businesses, we strive to create workplaces where all employees can develop challenging careers with opportunities for growth, competitive rewards and a balance between work and home life. In a fast-paced, competitive environment, this is a shared responsibility between our companies and our employees. For this reason, our companies have adopted progressive policies that foster a diverse and inclusive work environment. Our employees know that they will be treated fairly, without being subject to prejudice or discrimination.

Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys these same basic protections in other aspects of their lives. The Legislature took an important step in that direction by passing SB 5688, and did so without placing any undue burden on the business environment or imposing excessive taxpayer cost. We believe that this action was consistent with our corporate principles in treating all employees with fairness and respect.

We embrace everyone’s fundamental right to be judged on their merits and contributions rather than factors such as their sexual orientation. Because rejecting the law would stem progress toward that goal, we urge a vote to approve Referendum 71.

Businesses to approve R-71 - Boeing, Microsoft, Nike, Puget Sound Energy,
RealNetworks and Vulcan.


Comments (26) RSS

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mackro 1
wow, Amazon's not on the list! Whoudda thought
Posted by mackro on September 14, 2009 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Baconcat 2
This is a gay conspiracy.
Posted by Baconcat on September 14, 2009 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Hernandez 3
All right! So how long until the homophobe fundies announce their boycotts of airplanes, computers, shoes, real estate and electricity? C'mon, Protect Marriage Washington, put your money where your bigot mouths are!
Posted by Hernandez on September 14, 2009 at 4:28 PM · Report this
Gus 4
Would this be a bad time to lament the influence of corporations in politics?
Posted by Gus on September 14, 2009 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Congratulations and kudos to all of these companies for serving as good stewards of an important progressive stance. I applaud them for the thoughtfulness and bravery it took to write this statement.
Posted by greatnotion on September 14, 2009 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Am I just out of the loop, or doesn't voting to approve R-71 mean *denying* domestic partnership rights?

Can someone clarify which side these companies are on? The headline isn't compatible with the article.
Posted by also on September 14, 2009 at 4:33 PM · Report this
leek 8
Oh, also. You sadden me. It is necessary to APPROVE Referendum 71 to maintain the domestic partnership rights the state congress tried to give us. APPROVE is correct language.
Posted by leek on September 14, 2009 at 4:34 PM · Report this
Lurleen 10
@7 also, everything you need to know is on the Washington Families Standing Together website,
Posted by Lurleen on September 14, 2009 at 4:42 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 11
@ 9) Yes, they fought in 2005. But that quote comes from a Microsoft shareholders meeting in November 2007.
Posted by Dominic Holden on September 14, 2009 at 4:44 PM · Report this
Simply Me 12
This is going to make my Christmas shopping easier. Mom is getting a 777 Boeing Jet. Dad is getting Microsoft Office. (I'm a momma's boy). My brother is getting a Vulcan Condo, my domestic partner is getting some Nike Shoes, and my whole family is getting electricity all year through Puget Sound Energy. We're going to watch all our Christmas Specials on Real Networks.

Approve 71!
Posted by Simply Me on September 14, 2009 at 4:50 PM · Report this
kim in portland 13
Great news.
Posted by kim in portland on September 14, 2009 at 4:53 PM · Report this
Fnarf 14
@7 is our single biggest problem. We've got a majority, but a big chunk of that majority thinks they're supposed to vote NO. I think the bigots have end-run us.

Posted by Fnarf on September 14, 2009 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 15
#4 while you're lamenting corporations in politics shed a tear for religion in politics.

Approve R-71 means a vote for Washington Families and Washington Kids. It might mean a vote for the family dog too but she just wants to play and eat. APPROVE R-71.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on September 14, 2009 at 5:08 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 16
The Seattle Times is endorsing Yes too. It's in tomorrow's print edition.
Posted by Will in Seattle on September 14, 2009 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Chef Thunder 17
#7 and everyone this is why it is especially important to tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW to vote to APPROVE 71!!! This is not about how many people support us it is about how many people remember to vote AND vote to APPROVE 71.

When you get your ballot vote, sign and send it ASAP then start bugging every person you
know to send theirs in. I-1033 is going to bring out conservative voters. We need make sure that progressives vote as well.

Give time and money to the APPROVE 71 campaign.
Posted by Chef Thunder on September 14, 2009 at 5:14 PM · Report this
leek 18
You can also join the Approve Ref. 71 Facebook group and change your profile picture to match theirs. I have.…
Posted by leek on September 14, 2009 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 19
Thanks for the link, leek.
Posted by Will in Seattle on September 14, 2009 at 5:37 PM · Report this
Frau Blucher 21
20 - Douche
Posted by Frau Blucher on September 14, 2009 at 6:58 PM · Report this
Joe 22
I want to personally thank these companies for making financial contributions as well as their endorsing message. It is heartwarming to know some of our country's most respected corporations are willing to support the LGBT community.
Posted by Joe on September 14, 2009 at 7:01 PM · Report this
michael strangeways 23
uh, Amazon and Starbucks need to fuckin' step up to the plate...their absence is conspicuous, embarrassing, and disrespectful to the thousands of gay employees they have in Washington and internationally.
Posted by michael strangeways on September 14, 2009 at 8:00 PM · Report this
kim in portland 24
Think about supporting Maine as well, marriage equality is on the ballot there.…
Posted by kim in portland on September 14, 2009 at 8:14 PM · Report this
@7 - So, the legislature passed the domestic partnership bill a while back. All is well. But then the fundies were angry. They wanted to put the domestic partnership law on the fall ballot for a public vote, because they believe the majority of WA residents are bigoted assholes like they are and will shoot it down. So we were AGAINST the domestic partnership bill getting enough signatures to make it onto the ballot because the unwashed masses shouldn't be deciding people's rights (see: interracial marriage). But now that the domestic partnership bill is on the ballot, we want it to be be approved, like it was by the legislature.
Posted by JenV on September 14, 2009 at 8:15 PM · Report this
Michael from Washington 26
Right now, our fight is in Maine and in Washington, and we have a chance.

In addition, LOADS of newspapers are endorsing this too, and they plan to repeat themselves. The Everett Herald, the Columbian, the Federal Way Mirror, the Seattle Times. Probably more.

Now if only Starbucks and company joined up. Hell, make Coldstones and Jamba Juice join up too. And host celebratory gay-themed items. Mmmm, gay Jamba Juice.
Posted by Michael from Washington on September 14, 2009 at 9:12 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 27
Personally, I waiting for the Frederick & Nelson endorsement.

But just between you and me, City Light's electricity is much more gay-friendly than what those PSE characters have.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on September 14, 2009 at 10:11 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 28
Gay haters, if you are using a PC, (Apple is just as gay friendly, if not more, so a Mac won't save you.) and running your computer on electricity from Puget Sound Energy, you're supporting gay rights! Thanks!
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on September 15, 2009 at 5:08 AM · Report this
Being proud of your employer is a nice feeling.
Posted by -J on September 15, 2009 at 9:06 AM · Report this

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