April 24, 2005 2:10 AM PDT

Ballmer explains reversal on gay rights bill

Microsoft's CEO says he and Bill Gates were pondering the role major corporations should play in larger social debates.
The New York Times

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I'm somewhat unclear...
How has Microsoft not already made a statement on the issue by having an anti-discrimination policy and extending benefits to same-sex partners? The employees and shareholders who don't like that MS would support an anti-discrimination bill surely have an even bigger problem with extending benefits to same-sex partners, yet MS did that and without much hoopla it seems. That doesn't make any sense.
Posted by tubedogg (31 comments )
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Good Move Microsoft
Let's continue the trend of separation between technology and politics--oil and water, certainly.
Posted by Walt Connery (89 comments )
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Just Technology?
Why separate only technology from politics? Why not separate ALL corporations from politics? Corporations have neither conscience nor morals and should NEVER have been allowed to participate in politics. Now they run the world and citizens have no say.

Simple solution: A corporation is not a person.
Posted by nealda (105 comments )
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How about we seperate the religious right from the people who make the laws?
Posted by (21 comments )
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Ballmer__Put Money Where Mouth Is!
I can accept Steve Ballmer's and Bill Gates' business position. Do/should corporations (or for that matter organized religions) have any right or reason to involve themselves in issues that clearly have little direct effect on the business? A reasonable argument could be made for the "No" side. However, having said that and having stated publicly that, as citizens, both support the intention of the bill. I would argue it behooves both men to place their personal resources behind those efforts. Each should come out publicly in support;each should contribute generously, as they do have the resources. Otherwise, saying we support it is a meaningless gesture. How about personally fighting the Republicans in the Senate trying to do away with the filibuster to nominate anti-gay judges. Where are Ballmer & Gates on that?
Posted by Royce (5 comments )
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They already put money there
Put Bill and Steve's personal fortunes to one side for a moment. I have no idea where they spend their pocket change. (I do have some idea where the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spends its money, and I dare anyone to honestly attack Bill for not "giving enough". Near as I can tell, he gives more in proportion to his wealth than any rich person on the planet.)

Microsoft already puts a *lot* of money "where their mouth is" on this issue. Benefits for same-sex partners are expensive. Education about and enforcement of non-discrimination policies cost money. They walk the talk internally.
Posted by jdzions (85 comments )
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Both sides of an argument
Ballmer asks, "What message does the company taking a position send to its employees who have strongly held beliefs on the opposite side of the issue?" That question makes sense when it's simply a matter of people disagreeing on the best way to do something: some won't be happy one way, the others won't be happy the other. When it comes to antidiscrimination laws, it's different case: one way, some people won't be happy; the other way, many people's lives are adversely affected.
Posted by (12 comments )
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Lack of courage hurts us all
I agree with those who say Steve Ballmer isn't facing the real
issue. Discrimination against gay/lesbian people hurts all of us
in the long run, just as racial, ethnic or religious discrimination
has proven to make our country a lesser nation. Religious
extremists are in power now (see Frist, DeLay, Bush, Cheney et
al.) and are screaming for a rollback of freedom. Backing away
from those threats, as serious as they are, is not simply a matter
of moving a corporation out of general public discussion. It is
cowardice in the face of evil.
Posted by Tiktok45 (1 comment )
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Microsoft is right
While everyone may or may not agree with what Microsoft has done, I think it is clear that they have made a smart move. They are pulling out of an issue that could open them up to a whole slew of issues for which there may not be a business need. Right now it is gay rights, next it could be something else. It could never stop. I think they have done this now to stop it all now. While this may be a support issue, it does drain on company resources. Both of them can support it privately but it would seem you are using comany resources to do the same as Microsoft.
Posted by donboyd23 (9 comments )
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Bad move microsoft..
The argument that Microsoft doesnt want to offend the other-side of the staff by continuing to support this bill doesnt hold water for me. This argument would have been good IF they never previously supported this bill. The fact they withdrew support is a slap in the face to gay / equal rights. Homosexual rights have nothing to do with religion. People having the right to equal pay, benefits and fair treatment are a facet of the workplace. The church also says "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.", Bill gates if your going to start applying (or listening to) the church then I think you and your execs better start giving a lot more money away.

As for the boycott of Microsoft, Well I will make sure that every homosexual I know is made aware of Microsofts decision and they can gauge future purchases accordingly as I will be doing.
Posted by (16 comments )
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Obviously Microsoft lacks courage and conviction!
The Taliban/Christian evangelicals will continue to escalate their
fear and intimidation into our lives unless we stand up to their
righteous authoritarianism. Diversity and tolerance of our
differences are the hallmark of our democracy. Without these
values we are no different than the Islamic extremists we are
Posted by chasak (3 comments )
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listen to yourself
I am so utterly offended by your comparison of my faith to a group of murders I don't know what to say except that I'm hurt and I forgive you. In the future it'd be most prefereable if you could abstain from making rash, sweeping statements. THAT is showing no toleration.

Tolerance should go both ways, my friend.
Posted by (7 comments )
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