Religious right turns eye on tech?

According to an article in Seattle's Stranger newspaper, Microsoft has withdrawn support for a gay-rights bill in the Washington state legislature, after being pressured by a local conservative megachurch pastor who threatened a national boycott of the company's products.

As told in the article, the pastor met with Microsoft executives, and demanded the company change its stance on the bill, and fire several employees who testified for the bill in the legislature. Microsoft's general counsel reportedly held a confidential meeting with a group of gay staffers in early April, telling them that the company had reconsidered taking positions on "social" issues, but also disclosed the pressure from the conservative pastor.

Gay and lesbian groups are protesting the company's withdrawal of support for the bill, which would bar discrimination in employment, housing, banking and other issues on the basis of sexual orientation.

UPDATE: According to the Associated Press, the bill has been defeated in the Washington State Senate by a single vote.



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