April 22, 2005 5:47 AM PDT

Microsoft under fire for reversal on gay rights bill

Critics accused Microsoft of bowing to pressure from a prominent evangelical church located near the company's headquarters.
The New York Times

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Not that...
I am against boycotting Microsoft, but not for a church. I find it sad that churches have so much power in a democratic society. I don't know how the church population is, but I can tell you I won't go because of the people. I have had bad experience after bad experience with the people at churches. I refuse to be a mindless zombie and just believe what I'm told so I generally clash with them.

I don't really agree with the gay lifestyle, but they are people and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect just like anyone else. God loves all people not just the ones who go to church. I say put down your bibles and lend a hand. You might be suprised at how much better it works out.

I know this is one sided, but I don't know who I disklike more. Monopolies or Churches. They are both leaches that try to control the way others live their lives. (Yes I know not all churches are that way)
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
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Sort of
I agree with you in some aspects, but I think you misunderstand the stance by the church on this. (We throw the term "the church" around a lot, so realize this is my understanding of it.) The church is simply trying to block a "lifestyle" that is plainly against the teachings of the Bible from becoming legally recognized. When undertaking this type of campaign, individuals are going to take it personally. There's no way around that.

I already boycott Microsoft whenever possible, so I couldn't help there even if I wanted to. But HP on the other hand, that I can do something about. :)
Posted by (13 comments )
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Both sides are too blinded
It is very easy to pity the gays in this issue. Having been persecuted, and villified for much of history, Gays really do have a hard time trying to live a "normal" life in their own perspective.

However, look at it from a heterosexual person's perspective - much of the very priviledges Gays are fighting for (and have received from some corporations) are denied to their own partners.

Why should a gay couple benefit from such big-ticket coverages such as Medical Insurance without the need to being married? That alone creates a huge disparity. Granted that Gays cannot get married (so they are screwed out of the legal benefits tied to matrimony), but if they are also as normal as any other person, what is to say that their designated partner is no more than a passing fling as commonly found in many heterosexual relationships?

In my understanding of human relations, such disparities such as these - is what creates back-lashes or hostilities among different groups.

In as much as I think that homosexuality is an evolutionary dead-end (since it's impossible to create an offspring), it should not be as villified as many people make it out to be.

Beleive it or not, every Gay person I worked with seemed pretty normal to me - NOT immoral demons that seek to force their lifestyles upon others.

Churches really ought to start praying to God, and ask him if such a persecution is what Jesus is really trying to teach us.

Gays must also be given a mechanism to register their partners as a spouse - so that the disparity of benefits (or appearances of it) is not abused. This mechanism should be just as easy/hard as getting legally married and divorced. This should even the playing field for EVERYONE.

Should they be allowed to use the word "marriage" for such a registration? No. Marriage has ALWAYS been between a man and a woman - sanctioned by the church. To change such a fundamental definition is as ludicrous as relativism - where are are no such absolute definitions of what is Good, and what is Bad.

To wrap up this over-wordy comment, I think both sides really ought to start closing their mouths, and start listening to each other. Because you can listen to someone when you are busy shouting at them.
Posted by Tex Murphy PI (165 comments )
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No offense intended...
First, I doubt that Microsoft backed off support
of the bill do to pressure from Hutcherson. One
self-righteuous twit abusing his pulpit isn't
apt to make a company like MS cave. I'm sure
they'd rightly surmise that there's little he
could do that would cause MS any significant
harm to their bottom line.

Rather, I think MS is simply making a shrewd
business decision. There was a time where MS
could get involved in issues like this and come
out ahead -- PR-wise, and maybe even ethically
and financially. This is no longer true.

The environment has changed. MS has lost 20% of
their value over 6 short months, they are having
product development problems, their bleating on
and on aboute their right to innovate has
backfired. In short they are increasingly
looking static, crufty, and old-school. At this
moment they need support from the political
right, who are the predominant force in US
politics right now. They need them to push MS'
ill-conceived software patent agenda, to
maintain the loopholes that allows MS to skirt
paying corporate taxes, to bolster government
purchases of their products, etc. Support for
gay rights is the antithesis of the platform of
the same political right that Microsoft knows it
needs to court. MS doesn't need to be against
gay rights, but the political right is going to
want them to not support if they are going to
screw their constituents in order to play ball.

Situation normal: it's just business, no offense
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
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Too much speculation
This article is filled with too much speculation with not fax. I love the reference to someones gut feeling thats just great journalism. Persecuting Microsoft because they dropped support for this bill (after 2 years) is ridiculous considering they are a forerunner in giving employee benefits to same sex domestic partners for years.

Please wake up America!!!! This is a dark day for civil rights in the US&.you dont realize it now but someday textbooks will be comparing the racial segregation of the 60s to the treatment of homosexuality in the 90s and early 2000s.
Posted by (6 comments )
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Sad Days in America
It is sad when religious bigots and wackos are controlling so much of what is said and done in this supposedly free country. Even sadder is the idea that people are starting to associate that intolerance with Christianity itself. I already know of at least a couple of people who say they'd never become Christians specifically because of the beliefs of the so-called Religous Right.
Posted by steven.randolph (24 comments )
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2 cents
It's terrible to think that people wont go to church or be involved in church or religious activities because of small differances of opinion. The truth for me is that my opinions differ enough that I clash with the moral majority of my local churches. I try to understand their points, but I find it hard. When I look at people I see people, not gays, blacks, jews, etc. Sure I don't always see indifferantly, but I try. I find it much more rewarding to understand people of different cultures and beliefs than to persecute them.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
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Misunderstandings are everywhere
There was a time when I believed you had to learn prejudice and stereotypes, but I gave up on that philosophy a long time ago. Unfortunately, this seems to be a built in flaw in the way we reason, and I rarely see any group that doesn't stereotype or have prejudice against somebody. The saddest thing of all is that most people don't seem to realize this.

I seem to see this a lot on people who lean toward the political left--they like to call those on the right self-righteous while also accusing them of racism and bigotry, while that very act *proves* they are vulnerable to exact same weakness that lead to prejudice and bigotry--and they don't see it!

It happens everywhere. The athesists think all Christians fit one bible-thumping template they have for us--we're all self-righteous crusaders seeking to cram our beliefs down their throats. They don't even realize that these Christians may be ignoring other important parts of their faith when they behaving in such an anti-homosexual way.

(I always thought we were supposed to hate the sin, not the sinner. We're *all* sinners, right? Even Christians; we're supposed to hold ourselves to a higher standard, but that doesn't mean we suddenly lost our flaws and always succeed. At least that's what I was taught.)

They also seem to fail to understand how counterproductive it is. We need to accept the flaws in others, for we all have similar flaws, and *help each other* to overcome them. Instead, many in the Christian community seem to believe that they should push homosexuals away instead, as if they are somehow more immoral and flawed than the rest of us.

What a surprise that they feel persecuted by us, and thus stereotype and persecute us in return.

Meanwhile, atheists like to stereotype Christians, and most of the faithful, as self-righteous, uneducated, weak-minded, fearful fools. At least, that's the general gist I get from them.

I could continue the great list of one group's misunderstandings and stereotypes of others, but the point simply is that this mostly results from the shortcuts we take trying to understand others. I'll describe some of these well-known errors below:

- Psychologists call this one the "fundamental attribution bias." In other words, we tend to attribute the behavior we see to a person's personality, and we tend to ignore how situational factors might be playing a role. In short, we have a bad habit of not giving people the benefit of the doubt; we jump to conclusions based on inadequate information about them.

- We look at any group we are a part of as diversified, but any other group, unless we've learned better, as highly homogenous. In other words, we're all unique--they're all the same. It's an obvious logical flaw, but monitor yourself and watch how often you do this without even thinking about it, and you just might begin to see the problem.

- It's pretty easy to fall into a us vs. them mentality when you sense prejudice toward yourself. Once that happens, you often stop listening to opposing viewpoints. You erect a barrier of perceptual defense; only evidence that supports your viewpoints gets through. Prejudice, misunderstading, and stereotypes become a spiral. We start to believe that *they* are incapable of reason and have no common sense, but don't see that *we* are doing the exact same thing.

I could go into more specifics, but frankly, these are all subsets of the same problem--we jump to conclusions--we often don't honestly look at how reliable the information we have is. We need to learn to tolerate ambiguity better; we need to learn when we honestly don't know or don't know enough. Until we learn to control these tendencies within ourselves, the roots of discrimination will always remain. Only the targets change.

That, I think, is part of the problem with these debates about discrimination and prejudice; we break it down into specific categories--religious discrimination, racism, sexism, ethnic discrimination--or to specific clashes--whites vs. blacks, Jews vs. Muslims, faithful vs. athesits, your-group-here vs. their-group-there. This won't get any better until we realize these all have common roots in ourselves, and stop pretending that some of us have "evolved" beyond them.

Watch yourself--see how easy it is to slip back into these bad habits even when you're aware of them, and you'll start to appreciate the true depth of the problem.
Posted by (282 comments )
Link Flag
Who else does Microsoft talk to?
I wonder if Microsoft also has meetings with the heads of any of the various white supremacist groups they have up there in the Pacific Northwest. Why are they giving this minister the time of day at all?

The funny thing is the idea that Christians *should* discriminate against gays and lesbians. *That's* a very un-Christian thing to do (the Bible doesn't say anywhere, "thou shalt discriminate against homosexuals"), so the idea that Christians would boycott anyone working to end discrimination is baffling.
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Entirely speculation.
Microsoft Dropped support for this bill because too many unrelated things were tacked on in the end.
Microsoft is supporting a newer, more effective bill.

This article is one of the most shoddy piece of "journalism" I've ever seen... not a fact in the entire thing... all hearsay.
Posted by (54 comments )
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What business is Microsoft in?
MS has no business taking ANY stance on SOCIAL legislation whatsoever.
BTW, many of the posts here are ( wilfully?) ignorant of what Christianity is or isn't.
Yet, to say that MS should kowtow to one group and snub another, when social matter s are thge issue is just crazy.
MS is in the computer business, not the social-engineering business.
Their job is to sell shoddy, insecure, and overpriced junkware, whether the customers be HolyRollers, Pinkie-boys, teppiphages, capitalists, communists, or whatever.
Posted by powerclam (70 comments )
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""I told them I was going to give them something to be afraid of Christian"
If any christian wonders why so many are turned off from them, it is quotes like this.

The sad thing is that threatening people is very unchristian. Christians need to start cleaning house and booting out these hateful, unchristian people from positions of power.
Posted by pcLoadLetter (395 comments )
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Interesting discussion...
I find it quite interesting that this discussion has turned to "this is why Christians are / Christianity is bad". There are so many contradictions in virtually every response here that I don't know what to say. Understand that being a Christian is not about going to church and listening to someone preach for an hour. Christianity is about knowing and loving and doing your best to serve God, and nothing else. When we see people in the news (such as this pastor) who set poor examples, they are merely people. Don't base Christianity on people, because that's all they are. Find out for yourself what it is and what it can do for you, and then make your judgements.
Posted by (46 comments )
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armageddonites use software?
I didn't know people waiting for the return of christ has any use for software. Could Jesus be a geek?!:).
Posted by bit-looter (51 comments )
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he certainly could
...but aside from that, maybe we should get back to the basic truth. We still live in a relatively free society, and there is a part of our God given liberty that is called "freedom of association". Passing laws that restrict our freedom of association is to travel in the exactly wrong direction. We do not want to have balding fat hairy men serving us hot wings and beer at "Hooters" now do we?

The truth is that we all engage in discrimination every day and discrimination is actually a good thing. In a free society employers ought to have the option of hiring or not hiring anyone that they do not want to hire for any reason- color, sexual preference, body ornaments, whatever. These rights are fundamental, and government should PROTECT them, not try and amend them.
Posted by (4 comments )
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Humongous Numbers
Let me see, the sexual orientations are classified as follows: Straight, Gay, Bisexual, Straight Bisexual, Gay Bisexual, Bi-Curious, Asexual, and Celibate.

Now, the number of bisexuals and gays on earth probably breaks 700,000,000 plus.

OK, so we have many corporations not just Microsoft who have upheld bisexual-gay rights. So does this mean that the other corporations are going to be forced by these same principles that are disadvantageous to our society as a whole.

Case in point: Many people in Silicon vally have contributed immensely and they are bisexual-gay in orientation. It is also all over the USA that these contributions have been made by these people.

This issue is very touchy but when you look at the numbers and the rest of the world you can see the preposterousness of these doctrines.

Lastly, these people who are imposing sanctions are very ethnocentric about their "living their Life on this earth".
Posted by alawana (20 comments )
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there is no such thing as gay rights
or bisexual rights either. And what are you talking about "sanctions"? what sanctions? Just because there is a supposedly huge number of people engaging in homosexual behavior proves...?
Posted by (4 comments )
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What has happened to America?
I grew up in the South Pacific where America is perceived as the land of equality, freedom to be yourself and speak your mind. Americans died defending my homeland from Nazi fascism.
How could Microsoft get it so wrong and choose to be silent?
Posted by (1 comment )
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