Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Monday, October 5, 2009

Microsoft Donates $100,000 to Approve R-71

Posted by on Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Asserting itself as a powerful advocate for gay rights, the Microsoft Corporation donated $100,000 to the campaign trying to approve Referendum 71, a report filed today with the state Public Disclosure Commission shows (.pdf). If voters approve the measure, they will uphold the state's domestic-partnership law, but a recent poll shows that only 51 percent of likely voters support the referendum.

This took guts. Microsoft's brazen role in R-71 will outrage the Ken Hutchersons of the world, who pressured Microsoft for years to back off from supporting gay-rights legislation. And it could also summon conservative interests—e.g., the Mormon Church—to dump money in on the other side. After October 12, state rules block any person or group from donating more than $5,000 to the campaign.

Microsoft's donation is larger than all the contributions combined for the campaign to reject R-71, called Protect Marriage Washington, run by a handful of Christian extremists who have reported only $55,217 in contributions.

Right on, Microsoft!


Comments (47) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Baconcat 2
Go Microsoft!

...but I still won't buy a Zune!
Posted by Baconcat on October 5, 2009 at 6:51 PM · Report this
Dominic, your link to the State's Public Disclosure is failing. Please check it out
Posted by on October 5, 2009 at 7:02 PM · Report this
Partly Cloudy 5
Yay. I love my company.
Posted by Partly Cloudy on October 5, 2009 at 7:28 PM · Report this
Lurleen 6
Protect Marriage Washington failed to file their C3 today.
Posted by Lurleen on October 5, 2009 at 7:30 PM · Report this
Simply Me 7
@6 Not surprising, Protect Marriage Washington has had a hard time complying with the law all along. I like your theory Lurleen, that an outside character is on the fringes just waiting to dump a load of money into their campaign.

We should all continue to contribute as much as we can so we're not caught off guard by a huge donation from NOM, or a church, or elsewhere.

Approve Referendum 71 to keep the domestic partnership law
Posted by Simply Me on October 5, 2009 at 7:36 PM · Report this
I feel far less guilty about buying MS Word for Mac. A 100k is a lot more than I could ever donate - congrats Microsoft
Posted by justicekid_2013 on October 5, 2009 at 7:38 PM · Report this
drewl 9
Wow... I've never been a fan of MacroSquash, even though my brother is an uppity-up programmer there, but I'm impressed.
Posted by drewl on October 5, 2009 at 8:12 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 10
I'd be surprised if the Mormon church put its toe into those waters again. Mitt Romney running was bad enough, let alone Prop 8. The last thing they want is more national spotlight on their weird little religion.
Posted by Free Lunch on October 5, 2009 at 8:14 PM · Report this

I like the way you think!! I hope folks don't see this gift as a good reason not to help support the campaign themselves! We absolutely cannot afford to be outspent on this fight, my friends. Pool your money with mine, and with Microsoft's, and let's win this thing BIG.

Posted by pheeeew!crack!boom! on October 5, 2009 at 8:16 PM · Report this
Baconcat 12
@5: I bet if you mention you work at MS, you will get lots of hugs.
Posted by Baconcat on October 5, 2009 at 8:52 PM · Report this
You know, an outside contributor may be ready to dump money with the anti-gays in Washington, but Microsoft's contribution is a BIG WIN for LGBT people and for our families. A story of this magnitude is worth more than the money itself or any matched or surpassed contribution by the other side. Thank you Microsoft, you understand what is important to our society and our country.
Posted by on October 5, 2009 at 9:17 PM · Report this
And if I may add, "SHOUT this from the roof tops Washington State!!!!!"
Posted by on October 5, 2009 at 9:18 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 15
I agree with @2, but I'll accept one for free.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 5, 2009 at 9:20 PM · Report this
TVDinner 16
Doesn't Microsoft match employees' donations? Is it conceivable they'll donate even more through matching funds? Or does that only work when they donate to non-profits, not political campaigns?
Posted by TVDinner http:// on October 5, 2009 at 9:24 PM · Report this
baconpussy 18
@2: OK, I officially like you now.
Posted by baconpussy on October 5, 2009 at 9:33 PM · Report this
I actually was given a Zune as a gift, and I liked it more than my iPod.

Also, thanks MS for the $$$.
Posted by jkcineaster on October 5, 2009 at 9:38 PM · Report this
kim in portland 20
Thank you, Microsoft.
Posted by kim in portland on October 5, 2009 at 10:17 PM · Report this
Partly Cloudy 21
@12 I do work at Microsoft. For almost six years now. I was a reluctant softie (my degree is in journalism), but I've come around because their politics support my politics. I still like the occasional gadget made by other companies, but my experience with them as a gay man with a partner when they hired me to move here from Texas in 2004 ... their policies at the time were phenomenal, and my partner and I moved here with the same ease as if we were a straight couple. Microsoft is on the right side of civil rights. And they match every dollar I give to the Pride Foundation, Equal Rights Washington, Lambda Legal, Gay City Health Foundation and the ACLU.
Posted by Partly Cloudy on October 5, 2009 at 11:00 PM · Report this
Partly Cloudy 23
@22 you're claiming that bigotry has more supporters by blaming folks fighting bigotry with incompetence? Um, typically, bigotry is the incumbent with a built-in lead. Those of us fighting bigotry have an uphill battle. Bigotry is cheap. It's built in.
Posted by Partly Cloudy on October 5, 2009 at 11:11 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 24
Oh sure, you are all cheering now, but just wait until Hutch informs the PRAYER WARRIORS about this! Then there'll be hell to pay - litereally.

Or not. But it might make for a fun slog post.

And yes, I too congratulate Microsoft. It's just good business to fight a stupid initiative like this. But I also credit the late Mary Gates. Bill had an exceptional mother, and she taught him well. I believe her values strongly influenced Microsoft in the beginning, and are still felt there today.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on October 6, 2009 at 6:37 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 25
All the conservatives that don't switch to Apple are all hypocrites.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on October 6, 2009 at 7:15 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 26
25, Apple is consistently ranked as on of the most gay friendly companies.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on October 6, 2009 at 7:18 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 27
@26 Looks like the people that hate American values are running out of places to run, then.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on October 6, 2009 at 7:41 AM · Report this
Baconcat 28
@21: Like I said, hugs are deserved.
Posted by Baconcat on October 6, 2009 at 8:00 AM · Report this
The Amazing Jim 29
They'll have to go to Linux?
Posted by The Amazing Jim on October 6, 2009 at 8:04 AM · Report this
@ 24...GOOD if the anti-gays get pissed. I can tell you this...our battles for Equality are not won by complacency or backroom deals or being sneaky and silent. Look at Massachusetts for an example of everyone, every strategy, every tactic being used to have fought and won.

There is far too much "cloak and dagger" with LGBT "leadership" lately, even in Washington State. We are on the right side of democracy and the right side of the "moral argument" here if you dare to call our fight for Equality such (and I do). I am not afraid to speak out for my Rights as an American and I have no problems calling out who our friends are. If you think you are Equal, act like it. There is NO Shame in that!
Posted by on October 6, 2009 at 8:23 AM · Report this
A couple folks in my wicked world have been at MSFT a couple decades now. This makes them sooo happy - they've been wanting to have something about their employer to be unabashedly, publicly proud of for a long time now.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 6, 2009 at 8:46 AM · Report this
hey, does anyone around here except that irrelevant space-being mudede ever even attempt to talk about the economy or economics or science anymore? i don't tune in every day, so maybe i just always miss it. y'know, just for balance? so's it's not all gay and local politics and molesting youth pastors ALL the time? what happened to the science guy...blanking on his name right now. i liked him.
Posted by ellarosa on October 6, 2009 at 8:56 AM · Report this
Baconcat 34
@33: Okay, we'll send a memo around and get that solved for you right this minute!

Would you also like a gift basket for the trauma we've put you through?
Posted by Baconcat on October 6, 2009 at 9:03 AM · Report this
Lacking Creativity 35
I wish Starbucks would donate money. That might be some added icing on the cake.
Posted by Lacking Creativity on October 6, 2009 at 9:47 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 36
@33 - nah, we gave it up for RH ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 6, 2009 at 10:49 AM · Report this
It did take some balls considering that they are establishing themselves as gay rights activists by doing so. There obviously could be a lot of backlash. I appreciate their willingness to stand up for the cause.
Posted by Jamie in Pittsburgh on October 6, 2009 at 12:22 PM · Report this
100k to MS is NOTHING. It's barely a drop in the bucket. It's MS doing the bare minimum to appease our demographic so we'll buy their product. Out of a budget of billions, I'd like to see them contribute at least a MILLION. That might actually DO something to help gay rights. It's all about marketing & marketing costs money. $1m worth of signs, banners, adverts and grass-roots funding might actually help to change some minds. $100k isn't enough to do very much, other than anger the bigots so THEY donate more to their side.
Another argument: it's bad business. MS is going to lose more than $100k in business from the opposition, and yet $100k isn't enough to do very much at all. If they were going to take a stand politically and socially, they should've had the balls to do it right.

Don't show up to the party with a bottle of two-buck-chuck and stand in the corner. Show up to the party with a bottle of Dom & make yourself known. Gay basics, page 7 of the handbook.
Posted by think smart design on October 6, 2009 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Mattini 41
$100k is a substantial and impressive public donation. Well done, MS.
Posted by Mattini on October 6, 2009 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Cascadian 43
Every time "spouse" is mentioned anywhere on the internal HR site at Microsoft, it's in the context of "spouse or same-sex domestic partner (SSDP)." Except where federal law gets in the way, as with taxation of health care benefits to same-sex partners, MSFT treats domestic-partners as spouses.
Posted by Cascadian on October 6, 2009 at 3:09 PM · Report this
@42, you're dead wrong. My partner is covered under my insurance and otherwise has parity with spouses under our benefits. As 43 said, federal law means that it must be taxed, but that is not Microsoft's fault.

I find it a good place to work and be out. I was very proud the first time I went to Pride in Seattle and saw the Microsoft booth. I"m more proud now.

For those who don't think that $100K is much, MS matches our charitable contributions regardless of cause (so long as they're not political) so this is not the only avenue through which they're supporting gay rights. Their track record hasn't been perfect (see 2005 waffling) but today I think they're doing pretty well supporting GLBT causes in Washington. If you think more effort needs to be made, I"m sure the campaign would love to have you. Money isn't going to win this, it just makes the resources available that are needed to win.
Posted by CleverScreenName on October 6, 2009 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Trinabeana 45
@15: I also agree w/ @2, and conveniently, my friend who works for Microsoft gave me one last year.
Posted by Trinabeana on October 6, 2009 at 10:41 PM · Report this
Karlheinz Arschbomber 46
Just for this, I will suspend my visceral hatred for them, for a whole day.
Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber on October 7, 2009 at 6:29 AM · Report this
TylTay 47
Microsoft should know by now, that the first version of something isn't always the best. So it is with SB 5688 / Ref 71. It Redefines husband and wife in the RCW and will give lots of job stimulus for the legal eagles if passed. If it becomes the law of the land, the public schools will teach it and the folks of faith with means will pull their kids out public school; crashing our K-12 financially.

Ya don't have to marry the first person that ask you to dance, Sb 5688 / Ref 71 should be soundly rejected so it can be re-worked; much like any new operating system Microsoft has EVER released.

es we the taxpayers by the price for badly written legislation.
Posted by TylTay on October 7, 2009 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Donolectic 49
@47 - Your douchebaggery continues to show, you poor poor concern troll.
Posted by Donolectic on October 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Donolectic 50
@47 - Your douchebaggery continues to show, you poor poor concern troll.
Posted by Donolectic on October 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM · Report this
TylTay 51
When you label others with whom you disagree with names such as "troll", you concede the debate Donolectic; no matter how many times you post it. Besides, the faults we first see in others we know to be true in ourselves....

Posted by TylTay on October 9, 2009 at 5:06 PM · Report this
47 & 51. Simply trying to create a wedge in a crass attempt to split an electorate to avoid creating some sort of legal expansion of RIGHTs to non-heterosexual couples. This is despicably short sighted. If 71 is not perfect, draft additions that can be added that make it more perfect later--or better yet...allow the legislative process to work and fuck all this referendum nonsense. Practically, it is just about the worst process imaginable for a political/governmental system.
Posted by Xrock on October 9, 2009 at 7:52 PM · Report this
TylTay 53

SB5688 / Ref-71 redefines husband and wife. Why? This was not necessary in order to give gay unions equal rights. This is one reason this is bad legislation. The referendum process is a difficult constitutional method to give the voters the final say when the legislator passed a real stinker. The people who ran the Ref-71 are patriots.

Laws are forever until they are changed. Generally this is very difficult. If there is a problem with the legislation, the lawyers sue, sue and sue and we the taxpayers take it in the wallet.

I’d rather send it back to the legislatiors with a big fat RECJECT and have them not redefine husband and wife. The implications and potential lawyer job stimulus if Ref-71 is approved is staggering.

Have the courage to read the legislation and look at it objectively.

Then vote to REJECT Ref-71.
Posted by TylTay on October 10, 2009 at 3:17 AM · Report this
Well done Microsoft!!!

Vote APPROVE on Ref-71!!
Posted by Inara on October 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM · Report this
Woohoo. Company who are not afraid to do what is logically correct.

Vote APPROVE REF 71 for protecting minority from narrow minded evil people.
Posted by Fair on October 21, 2009 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Dear Gramonics,
You kidding me right? The gay people create the software problem. You know that majority of the people who work in Microsoft are straight people of all races right? Microsoft is trying to stay in competition national and international therefore they don't really care about your sexuality or race but just want to get the best of people they can. If not why would they spend thousand of dollars to hire interns to see who are good and to look for them when they graduated from University.
Beside did hear about the new Window 7 program lately? It is going to be good.
Posted by Fair on October 21, 2009 at 4:56 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy