back to article Redmond campaigns for gay marriage rights

Microsoft has thrown its political weight behind a new law in its home state of Washington that would set up equal marriage rights for LGBT couples, an effort joined by local employers RealNetworks and Nike. In a blog post, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said that the state needed the law so that local employers could …


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  1. Big-nosed Pengie

    The Devil...

    ...can quote scripture for his own purposes.

    When I first saw this I thought "WTF? Are these rapacious corporates supporting human rights because they've suddenly grown a moral sense?"

    Then I read the second paragraph.

    1. Paul Johnston

      I could be wrong but...

      Don't corporations have to justify their actions by saying they "increase shareholder value!".

      Hence the reason given might be an economic cloak for what is really a moral stance.

      If they came out and said we just think this is right would that leave them up to legal action?

      We are talking about the USA here.

    2. John Angelico
      Thumb Down

      And a national/international employer too!

      The argument runs a bit thin when MS has offices all over the blooming place.

      If business is about business, then it has no business in social politics.

      1. Ru

        "it has no business in social politics"

        If you are a significant shareholder in MSFT, you can make your feelings known.

        Oh wait, you're not? Then what makes you think that you have the right to dictate to them what they should and should not do, any more than they have the right to tell you exactly which subsets of politics you should be interested in?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about the State staying the hell out

    How about the State (in the most generic PolySci sense, not just in the sense of "the state of Washington") staying the hell out of defining what a marriage is, or giving 2 figs about the state of marriage. Let the decision of what a marriage is - be it a man and a woman, two men, two women, or three men two women and a exercise bicycle - be solely upon the people involved in the "marriage". Get rid of tax rates for "married" and "not married" - just worry about if somebody is supporting somebod(y|ies) else, and not the reasons for that. If a set of people want to have shared ownership of property, let them work out a contract as needed between themselves. Let people designate who else can make medical decisions for them - again, what business of the State is that?

    I am for equal rights - I want EVERBODY to have the right to be left alone, and not have the bloody State getting involved. Just because historically the State (and the Church - often one and the same in practice) concerned itself with these matters doesn't mean that state of affairs should be continued.

    To the extent that Microsoft wants to support equal rights I support them - it's just a shame we cannot just get everybody to BUTT THE HELL OUT OF EVERYBODY ELSE'S PRIVATE LIVES.

    1. oddie

      I mostly agree with u, but i think 'fairness' or something similar to it, which we usually look to the state to provide is best achieved sonewherr in the middle. So the state not controlling peoples lives but also not butting completely out. I think people usually mebtion 'what ifs' at this point but there are usually 'what ifs' both for and against. I agree with u that everyone should have the same righta, possibly with the excepyion if the bicycle, but i think its more pragmatic to think of the 'the state' as a set of 'rules' that we all agree to that while doesnt benefit any if us directly helps leveling the playing field and introduces an arbitrary set of rules that stop us from being complete wankers (or atop the ones that would be).

      Which is a long winded way of saying that i agree, the state shouldnt have a say in what constitutes a union between people, but it should have the power to define certain rules for people in such unions to make sure there is less nasty bad things happening...

      Pls disregard spelling, im on a mobe with stupid lack of buttons and a strange dislike for el regs comment bix (doesnt allow me to accurately posution the cursor next to a misspelled word)

    2. JC_

      @David D. Hagood

      Your idea of marriage is a contract, right? Okay, when it comes to deciding what a contract is, who can make it and how it's enforced, who or what is ultimately responsible for that? It's the state. So how can the state NOT be involved?

      You Paulistas can't write a paragraph without contradicting yourselves...

      I can understand the appeal of libertarianism to intelligent but misanthropic 15-year old boys because it explains to them what's wrong with the world and why they don't get along with it, but it's pathetic* in anyone else.

      *that's pathetic in the sense of "causing or invoking pity"; I feel sorry for you.

      1. SoulReaper


        A) The state would not have a harder time enforcing a contract between 2 men or two women, deciding who can get married is more involved than enforcing contracts. The whole marriage license thing was created to stop interracial marrying, it worked just fine before the state got involved.

        B) Private arbitrators can resolve contract disputes. And for some, the contract is between them and god, and they dont need men to enforce the faithfulness clause.

        I feel sorry for you that you feel the need the use violence against others to make society work the way you want, and you can't get along with your fellow man.

        1. JC_
          Thumb Down


          Yeah, and by that logic we don't need food regulations because people whose children die from eating adulterated baby food can have everything made right by a private arbitrator.

          Regulations and laws are 'violence'? Man, you Howard Roark wannabees have a deep victim-complexes. Aren't you supposed to be iron-willed, lantern-jawed, railroad-building lights to the world? Harden up!

          1. SoulReaper


            Like the government can make it any more right? Either way the child wont be coming back, and both can demand compensation to the victim or their family. It's the government's limited liability corporations that protect the people running the company from bring held personally responsible for their reckless actions.

            Yes, laws are enforced with violence. If you dont obey them, men with guns kidnap you and lock you in a cage. I have no idea wtf the rest of that paragraph is supposed to mean. And of course you failed to make any kind of argument about how these marriage laws make sense, instead opting for ad hominem attacks. But I guess thats because you have no real arguments.

            1. JC_

              Here's the difference, SoulReaper: regulation is there to prevent the child from dying in the first place.

              Yeah, even with regulation, terrible things like children dying do happen, but there's a hell of a lot more incentive to prevent this with rules, inspections and laws than there ever would be with trying to sue after the deed is done.

              The libertarian concept of sue-to-make-it-right is just comical, much like libertarians. No, that's not an ad hominem attack, it's just a fact. Anyone that believes in Ayn Rand and libertarianism has a lot of growing up to do.

              How, for instance, are the birds that die from an oil-spill supposed to go to court to sue for compensation? Or is that not important because no human was directly harmed?

              And how exactly are private arbitrators going to enforce their decisions if not with "violence"? But even worse, this is privatised violence, where he who can summon the most violence decides what is right. If you don't like that, who are you gonna appeal to? Welcome to Somalia.

              Debating with libertarians is like debating with flat-earthers and creationists - you guys are a fanatics out of touch with reality.

    3. Figgus

      As soon as marriage ceased to be only a religious institution and became a legal one instead, it became 100% wrong to deny it to anyone based on faith or orientation.

      Mind you, that doesn't mean I think churches that are opposed to it should be forced to host the ceremony, I simply think the state has no right to pick and choose who it "allows" to achieve married status legally.

  3. Ned Ludd

    "it seems an odd business decision to make when they sell a lot of their products the US"

    And since Apple have also expressed support for same-sex marriage, I guess the devout will have no choice but to go with Linux?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      are there no gay penguins?

      1. Local Group

        "Have they no refuge or resource?"

    2. Ommerson
      Thumb Up

      Or back to the dark-ages, which they seem to hanker for. No computers or Internet there, so no issues!

  4. Jeebus

    It is seen as the last bastion of prejudice, now those people can't treat on black people anymore [in the open] so they throw their weight behind other hate campaigns

    People are growing up though as time wears on, it is a battle the intelligent are winning at every level, it was scarcely 40 years ago it was often treat as a mental illness. Obviously there are many places that still would but they are generally not where companies like Microsoft are located.

  5. Curly4

    Many spouses

    Now you are making those who believe in multiple spouses

  6. O RLY

    "In the US, around half of all marriages involve a divorced person..."

    Interesting stat. What is its source? I am aware that half of all US marriages end in divorce, but I've never heard this statistic before.

    1. dogged

      word missing?

      "eventually", perhaps?

  7. Christoph Silver badge

    Ye gods and little fishes!

    " A spokesman for the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW), which seeks to “impart a biblical worldview for those committed to Judeo-Christian truths,” told The Register that Redmond was sticking its nose into other people’s business. "

    He is complaining about someone else "sticking its nose into other people’s business"?

    While demanding that people he has never met and will hopefully never meet be banned from doing something that does not harm him in any way?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    As Santorum Says...

    "So, anyone can marry anybody anybody can marry several people?" - Rick Santorum, Rep. Presidential candidate aspirant.

    Seriously though, what the hell is going on in that country?

    1. Pseu Donyme

      >Seriously though, what the hell is going on in that country?

      A theory: vile, cynical propaganda making use of ignorance and prejudice for political gain with the ultimate motive of financial gain (i.e. greed) and power for its own sake.

      1. LateNightLarry

        Seriously though, what the hell is going on in that country?

        What's going on seems to be the extreme religious right, called the Christian Taliban by some, are seeking to impose their extreme views of religion, marriage, sexuality, education (elimination of science and evolution from the curriculum) and just about everything else on the majority of Americans... Many of the extreme religious right are also politically involved in the Tea Party, or as I call them, Tea Party Troglodytes, although perhaps TP Luddites would be a better word... They want to return the US to sometime before the 1800's, when RICH white men ruled with absolute authority, poor white men worked themselves to death, women were expected to be totally submissive to their husbands, and remain in the kitchen and bedroom after marriage, and of course, barefoot and pregnant. And minorities of any color (black, red, brown, green, etc.) had even less rights than women. All women and minorities were denied the right to vote... What I don't understand is why the women married to these men allow it to happen to them... We had a friend whose husband decided to retire, sell the house, and move several hundred miles away... She had absolutely no say in the matter... Husband/MASTER decreed, and wife/SLAVE obeyed.

        Nuclear explosion because that is what would happen if I tried to pull a stunt like that.

        1. Figgus


          Nice job attributing religious motives to a group concentrated on fiscal sanity.

          Saying some of group A is in group B, therefore all of group B is just like group A is a pretty flawed argument.

  9. Arctic fox

    The Godbotherers are so delusional its hilarious.........

    "The reason they did this is that they have been beaten down by the human rights campaigners on this.”

    Microsoft, "beaten down by the human rights campaigners"? WTF? What part of that this has been MS policy (for clear business reasons) since the early nineties were they unaware of? As for their underlying attitude towards human rights for people they personally do not like that that formulation reveals I need not comment further other than to ask what part of the following did they fail to understand?

    Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    We are *all* children of *our* people in the biblical sense - you don't get to pick and choose between those you approve of and those you don't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Don't say "Godbotherers" like all people from all religions are the same, I'm a Methodist, I'm bisexual and pro-gay marriage. I know lots of people in CofE, Catholics and many other churches, some are generally anti-anything they don't understand, others don't care, others are pro. I believe that the Quakers are kicking up a fuss at the moment in the UK trying to be allowed by the government to perform same-sex marriage. C of E perform blessings (depending upon the particular church) on same sex relationships, but again are prevented from performing an actual marriage ceremony by law.

      I know more non-religious people who are anti gay marriage than I do religious people and at least the religious people can claim (wrongly in my opinion) that God has decreed it. The opinion of non-religious people who are anti-gay marriage seems to be that "it's just fucking wrong to be a bummer."

      1. Arctic fox

        I think old chap that you should read my post again.

        With a little bit of effort it would be obvious to you that my point was with regard to a certain type of christian conservative fundamentalist. They are after all the ones I was quoting at the head of my posting?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Sorry, but your title was indicative of a certain type of comment that seems to come up a lot on the Register along the lines of "All X are Y" and I'm quite sensitive to people suggesting that all Christians are small minded bigots. I presumably switched off my read a comment properly before commenting filter.

  10. Bob 18
    Thumb Up

    Right-Wing Hypocricy

    I've long ago concluded that the religious right is hypocritical with respect to these issues. Look at where we are now. Our president, a regular church-goer, happily married with two daughters, lives family values to the max. And yet, the right wing claims that he's trying to "destroy traditional family values" (and religion too) --- even while these candidates go cavorting around, treating women like yesterday's trash. The amazing thing is, people believe these goons.

    Anyway, I'm all for family values myself. LGBT couples should be allowed to marry so they can build stable, long-lasting families just like everybody else. Their children deserve no less.

    1. James O'Brien
      Thumb Up


      You know its sad when people are down voting you based off something (which I see) that is as trivial as this. You made a perfectly valid point yet the haters couldnt accept it. Go figure.

      My stance on it is this. Who the hell am I to decide who can and cannot love each other? If they are happy more power to them.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Probably people skimming and see FAMILY VALUES and thinking "Aack! Right wing nutjob!" without reading the rest of the post.

  11. Visual Echo
    Thumb Up

    Runtime Error: #define MAX_MARRIAGE_MEMBERS 2

    I personally think marriage should be limited at 2 to 7 primates, and at least 29.0% of those with only one sex must be the other sex. Call me old fashioned.

    Some of us in the US think it's a pretty strange place too. I enjoyed the reference to Luke. Not sure who said it first, but "I think it would be nice if someone would create a religeon based on the teachings of Jesus".

  12. eulampios

    a rainbow sticker

    May I suggest that on every OEM Windows equipped PC a Microsoft logo would accompany a message: "Microsoft: Designed by our gay couples especially for you"

  13. Graham Marsden

    WTF is "gay marriage"?

    [I forget where I saw this quote, but it runs something like...]

    "I don't want "gay marriage" any more than I want gay people to wake up in their gay bed, have gay breakfast and drive their gay car to their gay work. I just want everyone to be able to wake up in bed, have breakfast and drive to work and, if they fall in love, to get married."

    1. philbo

      @Graham Marsden

      Well said.

      But it's not just in the US where this is rearing its head: a local (Buckinghamshire) councillor recently tweeted "We may as well legalise marriage with animals, crude I concede but no apology", and there were plenty of people supporting him, trying to argue that allowing homosexuals to marry would devalue the institution of marriage.

      I have no idea how that's supposed to work: I simply don't understand how my heterosexual nearly 20-year marriage (jeez.. is it really that long now? Life sentences and all that) is affected even the teensiest bit by two other people being married if they happen to be the same sex.

  14. AdamWill


    "An odd country, the US – at least from this Brit's point of view."

    Odd? Well, that's as maybe, but at least there's six places in the U.S. where gay people can get married. Last I checked, there were precisely zero in the U.K. So you may wish to readjust your smugness level.

    1. Drew V.

      True, true. But OTOH, the UK has civil partnerships for gays, which have the same legal consequences as same-sex marriage, and which arguably puts the UK ahead of most American states. Also, the current UK government announced its intention to introduce same-sex civil marriages by the next election, which is something I don't see the US federal government doing anytime soon.

      I do wonder to what extent corporations (such as Apple's) stance on gay marriage is merely a consequence of the location of their headquarters (Seattle and California are very progressive states) and the opinions of their workforce. Social scholars, please chime in here.

      1. Ommerson

        More likely a function of the demographic who works at such companies: Devout belief in imaginary friends is not a common occurrence amongst scientists, software engineers and designers.

    2. Chris Miller

      Technically correct, but only because we call it 'civil partnership' which has given "same-sex couples rights and responsibilities identical to civil marriage" (Wikipedia) since 2004. I think the distinction is probably due to there being an established church in the UK, unlike the USA.

      1. Drew V.

        Certainly, we are talking about a cultural (and legal) difference here, because the US continues to respect the primacy of the churches when it comes to deciding when a marriage is valid or not. That's a huge cultural gap, by any measure. Nevertheless, purely in practical terms and in terms of what rights people actually get, it can be said that gays in the UK have more rights than they do in the US, in spite of the fact that 6 American states have accepted full gay marriage (because this implies that all the other states have not).

      2. AdamWill

        Well, yes, and that's the point

        Well, that's the whole point. It's a cop-out to organized religion, and that's exactly what I'm complaining about. 'Civil partnership' is not marriage; the only reason there's a difference is a craven cave-in to the religious lobby.

    3. Steven Jack

      Civil Partnership > US Gay Marriage

      True some U.S. States have gay marriage, but what that actually means from a legal perspective is a ceremony, and recognition within the state they live, they don't get to file join federal tax returns, if their partner isn't a US citizen they can't get a visa for their husband/wife to life with them on the basis of the marriage, if fact no federal recognition at all. Where as in the UK Civil Partnership is marriage by another name, it come will all the same rights and responsibilities. There are only a couple of minor legal technicalities around dissolution / divorce, these are that annulment on the basis of non consummation is not possible and adultery is not a reason for divorce, however unreasonable behaviour is, which would cover the bases there. Before I start cries of out rage at this last one in UK law adultery is a very specific act involving a man, a woman, his penis and her vagina. Thus not generally applicable in most LGBT divorces, it's cleaner and easier just to justify the divorce on the basis of unreasonable behaviour.

      But the main point here is smugness restored, LGBT people in the UK can have all the benefits of marriage when in the US they are lucky indeed if they can have just a few in marriage lite which some states have. Said but true.

  15. JDX Gold badge

    MS' reasoning is clear

    It's not to "be nice" or to "attract the best people". It's more likely a very cheap way to get popularity points by backing a cause that those they care about - young people - are highly supportive of.

    Corporate fake moralism, in my book.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Genuinely hate to say it

      But I'm cynical enough to think exactly the same thing myself. Especially about that lot in Redmond.

      Oh, and it will work.

    2. desider

      Better a bit of corporate fake moralism than the glut of sincere corporate immoralism we have.

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  18. P. Lee Silver badge

    The UK - Christian?

    with 95% *not* going to church?

    So that's only 5 in 100 people even attend church. Take out the rubbish churches feeding on emotion and the incompetent ones which provide R4's "thought for the day" and I'd be surprised if there were many people who have a clue as to what the bible actually says.

    As for the bible's view on marriage, as far as I can tell, it's one man, one woman, for life. Sex is only allowed within that context. With an established church in the UK (or even just taking the normal wedding service formula) there is a distinctly christian theology involved. Why would people who clearly do not wish to fit into that context want to identify with that institution? Civil partnerships make far more sense.

    Of course, if you wish to erradicate the concept of christian marriage and morality from society, then it does make sense to take christian terminology and redefine it to mean something completely different. I suspect that herein lies the conflict. It isn't about wanting to be involved in other peoples' sex lives, its about taking the name of a christian ceremony and attaching it a ceremony involving people who the bible describes as having rejected the christian god completely.

    It would be a bit like having laws passed which say that schools must teach aspects of creationism and call it Darwinist theory. It doesn't make sense and eventually nobody would understand what Darwin's theories were. It would be a great way to destroy the public's understanding of Darwin's naturalistic philosphy though.

    1. logical

      "christian terminology"

      "Of course, if you wish to erradicate the concept of christian marriage and morality from society, then it does make sense to take christian terminology and redefine it to mean something completely different"

      Marriage is NOT christian terminology. "Christians" do not own it and they do not get to decide for everyone what it means. They are not being persecuted or harassed or having "their" concepts eradicated because other people dare to believe different than they do.

      God has not delegated the power to control others lives to any human being AFAIK. Sin is between each individual and God and *no* one else. So many self-professed "christians" want to put themselves in God's place. It's just ridiculous.


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