"It's hard to reach any other conclusion than that Microsoft just screwed us. The bill lost by one vote, and it's hard to imagine that Microsoft, run by the richest man in the world, couldn't have had some influence on which way that one vote swung, especially when Microsoft's own member of the Senate is a moderate R and voted the wrong way.
Microsoft has been a champion of gay rights for years. But by the admission of their own staff, as quoted in The Stranger, they've decided to reevaluate how much they get involved in these kind of political debates, and clearly their reevaluation has told them to get LESS involved, not MORE.
Microsoft, for whatever reason, has decided it's time to pull back from its previous decade long (if not more) support for civil rights in general, and the civil rights of gays and lesbians in specific. That's not only sad and infuriating, it's also incredibly ominous. It means the culture wars have taken their toll on the richest man in the world, and one of the biggest companies in America. It means that Microsoft may very well go soft on it's pro-gay advocacy in other states and at the national level. And finally, it means that other companies may now follow Microsoft's lead and jilt the gays as well.
Hell, if the richest man in the world thinks helping the homos is bad business, who's to argue?...Shame on Microsoft. It had the chance to stand up and show the country that you can do well by doing good. But instead it sat by and shut up while our civil rights went down in flames. And yes, Microsoft was great on gay rights issues in the past. But that's all the more reason to be confused and troubled by their actions today..."
At the April 4 meeting, Smith told members of GLEAM, the gay and lesbian employees group at Microsoft, that the company had switched its official stance to "neutral" on the bill, and took personal responsibility for the decision. He characterized the shift as part of a broader general review of company policy designed to more precisely formulate criteria for determining when Microsoft should involve itself in "social issues," but also disclosed the pressure that had been brought to bear on him by Hutcherson.
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