Microsoft and Ref. 71

Now, before I say anything, let me be clear: I am an Apple person. Despite this, I was very impressed with Apple’s chief competitor, software giant Microsoft, yesterday. You see, the Redmond-based corporation donated $100,000 to the Approve Referendum 71 campaign.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the referendum, a little background: Earlier this year, the Washington state legislature passed a bill giving domestic partners (who can either be LGBT couples or heterosexual couples over the age of 62) all the rights and privileges – at the state level, at least – of their married, heterosexual counterparts. Shortly after the bill was passed, two religious groups joined together in an effort to gather enough signatures to place the new law on the ballot. Unfortunately, the religious groups succeeded in gathering enough signatures to put the law to a public vote. Since then, both sides have been trying to gather donations to pay for their respective campaigns.

Being as we live on a fairly liberal campus as well as the fact that we have a large LGBT community for a University of our size, I felt this an appropriate topic to write a bit about. I suppose what’s most most awesome about what Microsoft has done for the LGBT community is knowing how much courage it took on the company’s part. Because, even now and even in a state like Washington, taking a clear stand on an issue as divisive as gay marriage can be unpopular with many of the company’s customers. Yet, I hope other large companies in the area (cough… Weyerhauser… cough….….cough…. Starbucks) will follow Microsoft’s lead.

This is an important issue that affects us all. Whether you are gay, straight or questioning, the thought of your civil rights being rescinded by a public vote is disconcerting at the very least. Please join Microsoft, myself, and countless others in supporting this important cause.

To donate money to the Approve Referendum 71 campaign, visit

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