The LA Gay and Lesbians Center has asked for the 2001 Corporate Vision Award they gave to Microsoft in 2001 to be returned:
"We honor companies that, among other things, set a high standard for others by exhibiting leadership in advancing the cause of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual equality," said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings. "Because of Microsoft's apparent capitulation to the demands of anti-gay extremists and withdrawal of support for a bill that would do nothing more than protect gay and lesbian people from discrimination, we believe it's no longer worthy of our highest corporate honor."


"One of the most basic civil rights is protection from discrimination," said Cummings. "By withdrawing support for legislation that would protect the GLBT community from discrimination -- especially in its home state -- we're very concerned about the direction Microsoft is headed. It sends a dangerous message to the rest of corporate America, and to society in general, and may be cause for our community to evaluate its support of Microsoft."
(Via AMERICAblog.)

Microsoft didn’t get to be the corporate monolith that it is today by making terrible business decisions, but aside from the ethical failing of their decision to rescind support of this bill is one whopper of a bad business decision.

Creative fields have historically attracted and continue to be disproportionately filled with gays and lesbians: art, film, music, graphic design, architecture, interior design, writing, advertising, marketing, etc. (There was a study done recently delineating the connection between creative fields, urban centers to which companies specializing in such endeavors are typically drawn, and LGBT-friendly legislation and attitudes. The gist: being gay-friendly makes for a strong local economy.) Emerging markets depend on creativity, and all of the professions listed above depend on computers. How integral are computers to Focus on the Family’s operations versus Pixar’s operations? Is Concerned Woman for America using anything more sophisticated than PCs? What about ILM?

Just in my small circle of friends, I know two gay IT professionals. Next time their bosses ask them to upgrade the company’s computer systems, might they suggest something other than a Windows system?

They just might.

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