Thursday, April 21, 2005

Americablog Vs. Microsoft

John Aravosis at Americablog is raising hell at Microsoft for allegedly pulling back its support for an anti-gay-discrimination bill in Washington which - after thirty long years - is inches away from becoming a law. The Democrats are in control of the House, Senate and Governor's seat (for now - more on that tomorrow), and House Bill 1515 (which "would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, insurance and jobs" link) already passed through the House but is currently trapped in the Judiciary Committee.

John's story is based on an article to be published tomorrow in Seattle's The Stranger:

"The Stranger has learned that last month the $37-billion Redmond-based software behemoth quietly withdrew its support for House bill 1515, the anti-gay-discrimination bill currently under consideration by the Washington State legislature, after being pressured by the Evangelical Christian pastor of a suburban megachurch."

Here's the part that's really got John steaming (and plugging Mozilla and Ipods in the process...heh)(NOTE: The words in boldprint are the words John put in boldprint):

"DeLee Shoemaker, an aide to former Governor Gary Locke who now handles state-level government relations for Microsoft, had issued a letter in support of the bill. "We are going to be providing copies of that letter to the committee," he said. McCurdy spoke too soon. Murray says that beginning on February 7 he began receiving calls from company employees informing him that Hutcherson was pressuring the company to change its position on the bill. Murray eventually contacted Shoemaker. She admitted to him that Microsoft was planning to change its position on the bill. "I told her, 'This is a crisis. It will kill the bill,'" he says. "She said no one will know."...."

I wanted to link directly to John's major article on this story at his blog but even the link at Eschaton wouldn't work for me. Maybe it's because John's latest article on the subject is entitled "Screw Microsoft, Download FireFox Web Browser."

But while I agree with John that Microsoft deserves to be bombarded with phone calls and letters if they have indeed withdrawn support for a bill that's been supported by companies such as the Boeing Company, Nike, Coors Brewing, and Qwest Communications, I'm not so sure that Microsoft's bigwigs will be the ones to blame if this bill isn't passed before the session ends on April 24th.

According to this op-ed written by Thomas Shapley on April 8th in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, it's a couple of Democrats in the state senate who deserve to be harangued:

"With the prospect of a Senate floor vote on the bill to outlaw civil rights discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, Republicans moved that House Bill 1515 instead be sent to the Judiciary Committee. The move seemed to catch Democratic leadership flat-footed. The Republicans had already drafted Democratic Sens. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch to vote in favor of the motion. Stunned Democrats watched as the motion passed and the bill was sent to Judiciary, where the Democrats' one-vote majority member is -- Hargrove. And if he voted to dump the bill into the committee, odds are he wouldn't vote it back out again."

So go to Americablog and make some phone calls and write some letters to get Microsoft to do the right thing like they were going to do before but also make sure to call and write Democratic Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam, Washington and tell him to give his fellow Democrats a chance to vote on this bill which will help combat discrimination in the workplace and the home.

The Honorable Jim Hargrove

The Honorable Jim Hargrove
P.O. Box 40424
Olympia, WA 98504-0424

Phone: (360) 786-7646

email address:


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