Microsoft is among several technology companies that voiced support this week for bills that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state.

The company’s general counsel, Brad Smith, explained Microsoft’s endorsement of the legislation in a blog post this week, saying it reflects the company’s principles of inclusiveness, and noting that it would be “good for our business and good for the state’s economy.”

As other states recognize marriage equality, Washington’s employers are at a disadvantage if we cannot offer a similar, inclusive environment to our talented employees, our top recruits and their families. Employers in the technology sector face an unprecedented national and global competition for top talent. Despite progress made in recent years with domestic partnership rights, same-sex couples in Washington still hold a different status from their neighbors. Marriage equality in Washington would put employers here on an equal footing with employers in the six other states that already recognize the committed relationships of same-sex couples – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. This in turn will help us continue to compete for talent.

Issues of gay rights have caused controversy for Microsoft in the past, going back to 2005, when the company was singled out for withdrawing its support for gay-rights legislation that was then pending in the state, allegedly under pressure from conservative pastor Ken Hutcherson.

The company denied at the time that Hutcherson played a role in its decision, and ultimately pledged to support similar legislation in the future. Hutcherson later attempted to organize a boycott against the company over similar issues.

This week, others joining with Microsoft in supporting the same-sex marriage legislation were Concur, Group Health, Nike, RealNetworks and Vulcan Inc., Paul Allen’s investment company.

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  • Guest

    Congratulations to Microsoft! It’s moments like this that make me glad that Microsoft is allowed to be a part of the lawmaking process.

  • w

    i think MS should stick to what it does best: putting out crap product

  • Alanahoff144

    This decision  was a  big mistake for ms. What you  do with this  is take a moral and religious stand that is not good for any business. It will surely do harm.  It is wise not to judge any person but to take a stand is putting yourself in the judgement seat and   let me tell you “judge ye not lest ye be judged”   you are judging others of faith  and saying to them you don’t care what they  feel or believe.  It will offend many  doing your business no good. Jesus said “render to ceasar  the things that are Ceasars and to God those  that are  Gods’
    This is  God’s issue not Microsofts it is a religious moral issue.

    • Guest

      I think it’s a pretty safe issue. If people get upset for Microsoft’s support of marriage equality, where are they going to go? As far as I’ve seen, there aren’t any sizable software companies run by homophobes.

  • Monica Harrington

    I commend Microsoft for taking this stand.  One of my favorite bosses at MS was gay, and she was able to be quite open about the fact that she and her long-time partner were in a committed relationship, raising a daughter.  I remember attending a pretty large company function at her house back in the early 90s, where both women hosted, and I was just quietly happy that I worked at a place that recognized families come in different stripes.  The fact that my boss was extremely competent is what her bosses cared about.

    And to anyone who thinks it’s judgmental for the company to support gay marriage, that’s exactly backwards. The company is being nonjudgmental.  It is recognizing that many high performing employees are gay and it wants to support those employees as much as it supports its high performing heterosexual employees. Supporting all of your employees is smart business.

  • Frank Milton

    Ok, most of my respect for Microsoft just took a shot in the foot. This
    disgusts me – I mean, even though i have some friends who choose the gay
    lifestyle, It does not mean intruding on the 5,000 year old religious
    institution of marriage! They want to deny their own backgrounds that
    created them, namely a mother and father, then fine – Let them play in
    silence, but they are not subject to the same rights as a legal
    traditional married couple. I could go on about this subject, but I’m
    done right now.
    Screw you, Microsoft!

    •!/JamesManes James Manes

      You are truly a sad man Frank.

    • Guest

      Thank you for restricting your homophobia to your circles, Frank.

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