22 April 2005

Microsoft sashays around workplace discrimination bill (BR)

Microsoft Comes Under Fire For Reversal on Gay Rights Bill (nytimes.com)

The New York Times reports in its Friday, April 22nd edition that Microsoft withdrew its support for a bill pending in the Washington State Senate that would have expanded discrimination protections for gays in the workplace.

Microsoft, which already offers health benefits to gay employees and their partners, is feeling the heat because the bill failed to pass the Senate - by one vote. The company declares itself officially "neutral" on the matter - though MS softened its stance after meeting with Dr. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of the Antioch Bible Church, located just down the road from corporate headquarters in Redmond.

For a man who makes a living speaking in public, Dr. Hutcherson displays a marked discomfort with the English language, as evinced by this paragraph from the Times article:

Dr. Hutcherson, who has become a leading national critic of same-sex marriage, said he believed he could have organized a widespread boycott of Microsoft. He said he told the Microsoft executives, "If you don't think the moral issue is not a big issue, just count the amount of votes that were cast on moral issues in the last election."


I have an issue with someone who uses the word "issue" three times between a capital letter and a period. Issue issue issue. What are moral values? What does the modern moralist think about blowing people up? What's $300 billion divided by 150,000 dead bodies? And how come Desperate Housewives plays so well in red states? We don't even not need to get into the double negation.

More to the point, exactly how much of a threat does a local pastor pose to a software concern that enjoys a 90% market share throughout the goddamn galaxy? Is a nation that can't even figure out how to block pop-up ads or keep its credit card information to itself going to learn Linux in protest to Microsoft's stand on gay discrimination? Methinks Mr. Gates picked the wrong occasion for diplomacy on this one.

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