Microsoft is a power player in all the world, but especially Washington Sate, which it calls home with its Redmond headquarters. So it’s nice to see the tech giant (market cap: $222 billion) donate some $100,000 to Washington Families Standing Together in an effort to pass Referendum 71. Not even 10 years ago, a corporation so blatantly supporting a gay rights cause would face backlash from conservatives with boycott threats. And while that’s still a possibility, these threats are now empty — not only because public sentiment has changed, but also because, well, this is Microsoft, and there’s no escaping its Office suite of software! Then again, Microsoft has some major catching up to do with the gays, given its growing history of hating on gay consumers.
To be sure, internally, Microsoft has a decent record with supporting the gays. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of employee group Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft (GLEAM), the company added sexual orientation and gender identity to its own anti-discrimination policies, and offers health insurance to same-sex domestic partners.