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April 21, 2005
Microsoft Caves to Psychos

The Stranger (full disclosure - I totally run the place) exposes the latest reason to hate Microsoft.

Out here in Washington (somewhere between California and Canada), some form of legislation proposing to add gays to the list of groups protected from discrimination has been proposed, and defeated, for 29 years in a row. For several years, Microsoft has publicly supported the legislation, in keeping with their very progressive corporate policies on homosexuality.

Not this year.

It seems that a "mega-church" preacher by the name of Ken Hutcherson managed to get a meeting with Microsoft top brass, during which he threatened a national bigot boycott of the company if they supported the bill again this year. Shockingly, Microsoft agreed and changed their position on the bill to "neutral," a move that some say could kill the bill's chances of passage.

Naturally, the company's official line is that they are merely reevaluating how and when they will take a position on social issues, and the meeting with Huthcherson was just some kind of crazy coincidence.

From an email sent to The Stranger by a Microsoft spokesperson: "This year we made the decision to focus our resources and efforts on a limited number of issues that most closely align with our business objectives and directly affect our industry."


The weird thing about this story is the boycott threat itself. Is Microsoft really worried that Evangelical Christians across the country are going to suddenly switch to Linux? As a near global monopoly, I don't see what they're scared of, short of bad publicity. And that's probably all it is. And that's scary.

Far-right whackos like Hutcherson think that the re-installation of George Bush in November gives them the power to run around threatening to unleash the religious block on anyone who would dare oppose their plan to drag us all back to the 18th century.

John at Americablog is sufficiently pissed about this, and offers many links and email addresses to folks at Microsoft (scroll to the bottom). Sent them a note, tell them they vastly misplayed this one.

Then go buy a Mac.


UPDATE :: It's worth noting that Ken Hutcherson is a black man, yet he steadfastly refuses to acknowledge any parallels between gay rights and the civil rights movement. It just makes the whole thing worse. Someone whose people have been, and continue to be, terribly discriminated against advocating discrimination against others. Truly sad.

A reader who knows members of Hutcherson's church (Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, WA) writes in with this observation: "I have never met such ridiculous and homophobic people in my life."

Sounds about right.


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