Microsoft Corporation on Thursday removed its online store from the “Christian Values Network” after more than 500 people signed a Change.org petition asking the software company to stop allowing the funding of anti-gay “hate groups.”
“Microsoft’s swift reaction to my Change.org petition demonstrates their strong support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities,” said Stuart Wilber, a Microsoft customer and resident of Seattle, who started the petition.
“Microsoft has a long tradition of being supportive of our community. I assumed they would be just as upset as I was that their brand was being used by anti-gay hate groups to raise money. I’m glad I was right.”
More than 600 companies are listed at www.cvn.org, the Christian Value Network’s domain that hosts links to various corporate online stores.
Among the groups using the Christian Values Network to raise money are Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Summit Ministries, Abiding Truth Ministries, and the Liberty Counsel. Each organization has been identified as an anti-gay “hate group” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Dozens of major companies like Netflix, Target, Best Buy, REI, Delta, and even Sesame Street participate in CVN’s service. When customers make purchases through CVN, a donation is made to the charity of the customer’s choice. For example, Wells Fargo gives up to $300 per loan made through CVN and 2.5% of the purchase price for products bought through Apple iTunes store can be donated to groups like “Focus on the Family.”
“I wonder if Apple is even aware they are being used to raise money for these homophobic groups,” said Ben Crowther, a Washington State University Student who started a new petition on Change.org asking Apple to remove their store from the Christian Values Network. “It is so out of character for Apple to be associated with groups like Focus on the Family. I hope Apple acts quickly to remove their store from the Christian Values Network.”
“No respectful company or organization should do business with CVN as long as it helps fund these anti-gay organizations,” said Wilber. “Focus on the Family and other groups like it knowingly spread lies with deadly consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
Baldwin and Lohan worked together to help launch the Christian Values Network. Both are outspoken about their anti-gay views.
Baldwin told the Guardian in 2010 that he supports so called “ex-gay” therapy, a harmful practice that falsely claims to “cure” people of their sexual orientation. And in 2008, Lohan told reporters that he would not walk his daughter, Lindsay Lohan, down the aisle if she chose to marry her same-sex partner.
Microsoft has been a leader in the corporate world for their internal and external policies to both protect their LGBT employees, and to advocate for better laws to protect all LGBT people under the law, and recently endorsed the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a law that would allow gays and lesbians to sponsor their loved ones for American citizenship.
In 2009, during Washington state’s Referendum 71 campaign, Microsoft contributed $100,000 to help protect the rights of lesbian and gay families to a domestic partnership.