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Microsoft execs donate $100,000 each to support same-sex marriage law

Monday, July 2, 2012

SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Co-founder Bill Gates have each donated $100,000 to the campaign supporting Washington state’s recently passed law legalizing same-sex marriage, reported the Associated Press on Monday.

The law, approved by the state legislature and signed by Governor Chris Gregoire earlier this year, faces a ballot referendum in November.

Steve Ballmer (left) and Bill Gates

The donation from Gates and Ballmer will “make a tremendous difference,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, a marriage equality advocacy group working to gain voter approval for the new law.

“It’s very important for us to have that broad support from business leaders and companies themselves.”

Referendum 74 will ask voters to accept or reject the law that legalizes same-sex marriage — last month, the group “Preserve Marriage Washington,” which seeks to overturn the law, submitted petitions containing 247,331 signatures, more than twice the minimum required to qualify it for the ballot.

Prior to Gates’ and Ballmer’s donations, Washington United for Marriage had raised nearly $1.5 million for the campaign to fight back attempts to overturn the law.

Preserve Marriage Washington has raised only about $130,000 according to recent figured released by the Public Disclosure Commission, though the money race is expected to heat up significantly in the coming months.

The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage has vowed to aggressively fight to overturn the law.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., is one of many major U.S. corporations to publicly support Washington’s marriage equality bill — others include Seattle-based Starbucks, Google, Alcoa, Nike and Group Health Plan.

In 2011, Microsoft was one of 70 major U.S. companies to participate in “amicus” brief filing in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit claiming that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is harmful to commerce.

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Filed under: Washington (State)

50 more reader comments:

  1. YEEEEESSSSS @A@

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 2:57pm
  2. WTG Bill & Steve.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 2:57pm
  3. awesome!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 2:57pm
  4. hell yeah baby all the way

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 2:58pm
  5. I still hate their operating system, but good for them supporting equal rights.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 2:58pm
  6. Yey! Thanks Microsoft! <3

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 2:59pm
  7. huh almost makes me regret switching to Ubuntu…but I’m poor and needed to get a computer running for my buisness

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 2:59pm
  8. wow..!!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 2:59pm
  9. Good job Microsoft! =)

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:03pm
  10. Yessssssss!!!!! Ty Ty Ty Microsoft execs

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:05pm
  11. Alright Microsoft!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:05pm
  12. thank you microsoft. bet this pissses more people off than the oreo cookie

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:07pm
  13. Way to go Microsoft! This is why I’m proud to say I’m a Microsoft user, not an Apple user.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:07pm
  14. ^yes

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:08pm
  15. so are the US Bishops going to boycott using Microsoft products?

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:10pm
  16. Don’t be fooled by Bill Gates. Next he’ll be testing us to see what our sexual orientation is, collecting the data, making us wear Galvanic Skin Response Bracelets to monitor your activity. I’m not kidding. Look at what he does to public education, students, and teachers. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/11-million-plus-gates-grants-galvanic-bracelets-that-measure-student-engagement/2012/06/10/gJQAgAUbTV_blog.html PS> I support same sex marriage. I do NOT support anything Bill Gates does. It is all propaganda.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:10pm
  17. Great news, although I am deeply saddened that equal rights of the minority continue to be up for vote by the majority (who it does not affect). I’m grateful for businesses like Microsoft but I am disgusted by states like Washington. Shame on their government.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:11pm
  18. Susan DuFresne: Sorry, I gotta call b.s. on this comment. Only propaganda I hear is from the poster, not the Washington Post.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:13pm
  19. Finally, Microsoft gets something right!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:16pm
  20. you guys do realize that $100,000 is like chump change to them, right? They’ve given a lot more money to less deserving organizations in the past.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:17pm
  21. Call b.s on what comment?

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:21pm
  22. what’s your point?

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:21pm
  23. besides minimizing the significance of someone’s contribution.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:23pm
  24. Yay! Awesome Microsoft!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:24pm
  25. Roberta I am calling b.s. on Susan DuFresne’s contention that Bill Gates and his work is all propaganda.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:30pm
  26. @Wesley Walker: Better than not donating at all isn’t it?

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:31pm
  27. Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:33pm
  28. Great way to take a public stand. Put your money where your mouth is.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:34pm
  29. Very cool.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:35pm
  30. so awesome :)

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:37pm
  31. That is awsume!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:51pm
  32. oh dear. I can actually hear conservative heads exploding all over the USA.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 3:53pm
  33. Does this mean people will boycott microsoft that means they will have to stop being on facebook cuz they cant get on their computers and stop playing their xboxes because they are also made my microsoft

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 4:04pm
  34. Listen…it’s the sound of thousands of homophobe’s computers crashing to the ground. pft! lol

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 4:11pm
  35. Good for them!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 4:18pm
  36. Any homophobes should boycott from using their computers. The founder of the computer technology was gay.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 4:21pm
  37. YAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MICROSOFT YOU WIN POINTS MAJOR LOVELY POINTS FROM ME! (I am a gay gamer)

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 4:38pm
  38. oh yeah

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 5:13pm
  39. and this is why im a pc

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 5:18pm
  40. WOOHOO!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 5:24pm
  41. way to go

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 5:37pm
  42. WOW! Talk about money well spent! :) Thanks Microsoft!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 5:41pm
  43. Go Steve and Bill!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 6:10pm
  44. remember this the next time some blowhard talks about how evil the 1% is.

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 6:59pm
  45. oh no!!! i bet people will start boycotting Microsoft as well!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 7:00pm
  46. Yes! Microsoft geeks FTW! :)

    Posted on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 9:30pm
  47. Apple donated money against Prop 8 back in 08 and I def haven’t seen anyone boycott them

    Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 8:56am
  48. Parabéns a Microsoft. Derrubando tabus e preconceitos!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 9:54am
  49. take that mormons.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 10:00am
  50. These two are the definition of straight allys. Microsoft has long been supporters of LGBT rights, and same-sex benefits were part of their company for years, long before they needed to.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 10:40am