Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, Each Donate $100,000 For Marriage Equality
Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are coughing up a bit of cash for marriage equality.
According to the Associated Press, Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, and Ballmer, the company’s CEO, have each written $100,000 checks to Washington United for Marriage, a same-sex marriage advocacy group based in Seattle.
In February, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, and the law was to go into effect on June 7. But that was put in hold last month when opponents gathered enough signatures to put the the bill up for referendum in the November general election.
According to its website, Washington United for Marriage “is a coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and businesses working together to defend civil marriage for loving, committed same-sex couples.”
A Microsoft spokesperson told The Huffington Post that the company doesn’t comment on political contributions made by employees, including the CEO.
“Those are personal decisions and we respect them as such,” the spokesperson said.
Gates and Ballmer aren’t the only high-profile members of the technology community to make significant contributions for marriage equality. Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook and the editor-in-chief of the New Republic, promised Mainers United for Marriage that if the campaign raised more than $100,000, he and his now husband, Sean Eldridge, would match the donation, according to the Bangor Daily News. Mainers United for Marriage announced last month that it had raised more than $120,000.
For its part, Microsoft endorsed legislation for marriage equality for same-sex couples in January, writing on the official company blog that “passing this bill would be good for our business and good for the state’s economy.”
Microsoft joins a number of technology companies that have come out in support of marriage equality, including Amazon, Apple and Google.
source: The Huffington Post
OP-ED: Reparative Therapy Survivor Says Bachmann’s Rhetoric Matters
The Bachmanns’ role in the antigay movement makes for flashy news and great comedy, but Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann and her husband should not be written off as a sideshow. We cannot forget — for even a second — that Bachmann’s antigay politics and her husband’s use of reversal therapy are making life worse for countless teens just when we are trying to tell them “it gets better.”
It is too easy to mock Bachmann for her political antics. It is even easier to condemn her husband, Marcus Bachmann, for his unethical and harmful “reparative therapy” practice. Still, even though Bachmann and her husband offer a target-rich environment for criticism, my thoughts remain fixed on a seemingly unrelated story.
It was a summary of a recent MTV True Life episode, titled “I’m Trying to Be Straight.” As the preview says:
“Kevin cannot deny his sexual attraction to men, but has sworn off same-sex relationships because of the pain it caused him and his devoutly religious family. Kevin believes that with the help of a therapist, supportive friends, and his own willpower he can redirect his urges and be embraced once more by his parents — and his church.”
There is no word — not even horror — to describe how this makes me feel. Like Kevin, I once thought I had been rejected by God for being gay, and the reparative therapy I experienced at the hands of Joseph Nicolosi at the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality tore apart my soul and my family.
My parents are evangelical Christians, and they could not tolerate the idea of having a gay son. Indeed, they advocated for Colorado’s discriminatory Amendment 2, which constitutionalized all discrimination against LGBT people in that state. Their antigay beliefs were certainly as deeply held as those of the congresswoman and her husband; they were also just as clearly wrong.
To fix the problem of their son being gay, my parents sent me to a series of Christian reparative “therapists” and abused me emotionally and verbally. The personal effects were dangerous. I spent a decade of my life suicidal, abusing drugs, and occasionally homeless. I survived the anguish of being rejected by my family for being gay, but just barely.
This issue lives close to my heart, and I was grateful to be able to tell my story as a fact witness in the landmark civil rights case Perry v. Schwarzenegger. I’ve lived this issue, as have thousands, and we don’t have to imagine the harm such treatment causes. The effects of family rejection, often aided by the arguments used to justify reparative therapy, are well documented and tragic. At moments like this one, with Bachmann’s rhetoric on display and her “Dr.” husband’s widely discredited therapy showcased, my thoughts are with Kevin and the hope that one day he will find himself. And if he or someone like him is reading, I want them to know there is nothing wrong with who they are and that love is not a sin.
We must ask more from our politics and our morality so that youths like Kevin grow up knowing they are valued and worthy of love and not in a world where they repress who they are with the aid of quack therapists. As far as I can tell, there is nothing Christlike or moral about such therapy.
Fringe political figures and people motivated by misguided faith have seized upon the notion that being gay is a choice. They use this argument to deny equal rights to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender based on the falsehood that we are choosing condemnable behavior, but as Lady Gaga reminds us, the truth is we are just “born this way.”
Ryan Kendall was a fact witness in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal lawsuit challenging Prop. 8.
A newly published compilation of guidelines used worldwide by leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has softened the language about gay Mormons.
The book, known as the Church Handbook of Instructions, lays out Mormon policies on everything from baptism to running a worship service to counseling troubled marriages.
The updated reference book, scheduled to be presented to thousands of Mormon leaders in a giant televised training session Saturday (Nov. 13), will set the tone for church interactions for years to come.
The new handbook makes a clear distinction between same-sex orientation and behavior. It eliminates the suggestion, mentioned in a 2006 edition, that same-sex relationships “distort loving relationships” and that gays should repent of their “homosexual thoughts or feelings.”
It also says that celibate gay Mormons who are “worthy and qualified in every other way” should be allowed to have “callings,” or church assignments, and to participate fully in temple rituals.
The handbook simply repeats what top LDS leaders have been trying to say, but in more explicit terms that many members will understand, said David Pruden, president of Evergreen International, a support group that helps gay Mormons live by church standards.
Sometimes in the past, when a gay Mormon told his bishop he was struggling with same-sex feelings, the local leader would immediately call a “disciplinary council,” Pruden said. “They didn’t understand something that was foreign to them.”
These members were trying to be faithful to the church and looking for help, he said. Instead they were hurt and punished. The new tweaks, Pruden said, “will bless people by making it easier for them to come forward.”
The changes are “baby steps in the right direction,” said Mitch Mayne, an openly gay and active Mormon in the Bay Area. “At least the handbook takes the damning terminology out of it.”
But as long as the church makes homosexuality into a “subversive, taboo thing,” Mormon gays will have sex in parks and truck stops, he said. “We wrap being gay in so much shame, and shame brings acting-out behavior.”