Microsoft and Nike are among the 6
companies who on Thursday endorsed an effort to make Washington the
seventh state to legalize gay marriage.
In a letter to Governor Chris Gregoire,
the companies wrote: “We write you today to show the support of our
respective companies for SB 6239 and HB 2516 recognizing marriage
equality for same-sex couples.”
Washington state-based Vulcan,
RealNetworks, Group Health Cooperative and Concur also signed the
In a follow-up statement, Microsoft
added that not allowing gay marriage could leave Washington companies
at a competitive disadvantage: “Washington's employers are at a
disadvantage if we cannot offer a similar, equitable and inclusive
environment to our talented employees, our top recruits and their
The proposed legislation, which is
scheduled to get its first hearings in the House and Senate on
Monday, also got a boost with the
endorsement of Senator Jim Kastama, who once opposed gay
marriage. The measure remains one vote shy of passage in the Senate.
Senator Ed Murray, the bill's sponsor
in the Senate, called the endorsement a “significant step.”
“It's a significant step. But having
lived through trying to find that last vote on the gay and lesbian
civil rights bill, I am not yet ready to celebrate,” Murray told
Seattle Times, referring to a 2005 bill that failed by one
vote in the Senate.
Opponents of marriage equality called
Microsoft's support “inappropriate.”
“They are a software company, not a
PAC, and the only reason they take a position and essentially stick a
finger in the eye of their customers is that they think life would be
too miserable if they don't,” Joseph Backholm, executive director
of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, told the paper.