Joe Mirabella

Ken Hutcherson targets Microsoft for contribution to Approve 71 campaign

Filed By Joe Mirabella | November 21, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Apple, Approve 71, domestic partnership, Google, Ken Hutcherson, Microsoft, referendum 71, reject 71, Thomas Strohbard, Yahoo

Rev. Ken Hutcherson made an appearance at Microsoft's annual shareholder's meeting on Tuesday. As usual, Hutcherson was there representing the interests of Thomas Strohbar, founder of numerous anti-birth control, anti-choice, and anti-gay financial organizations.

Strohbar's road to financial security has nothing to do with typical investment strategies. Strohbar invests in stocks and mutual funds that he believes reflects God's portfolio.

From Strobhar Financial:

Thomas Strobhar also provides stock market screening information to a number of large professional organizations. This information helps Catholic dioceses and religious orders comply with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops' Investment Guidelines. This information has been helpful in avoiding companies involved in immoral business pursuits especially pornography and abortion. Evangelical groups have been especially appreciative where this applies to gambling and corporations that support gay marriage.

Strohbar also invests in companies that he wants to influence with his shareholder vote, such as Microsoft. He and Ken Hutcherson have been after Microsoft for several years.

In 2007, Ken Hutcherson told Microsoft, "I am probably one of the worst nightmares this corporation can have." Despite years of complaints, Hutcherson's so-called nightmare is more like a forgettable dream.


Microsoft donated $100,000 to the Approve Referendum 71 campaign. That donation inspired Hutcherson's 2009 rant at the shareholder's meeting. He said:

You have given millions of dollars to the homosexual community, millions. We're asking that you should put those out that people may see what you're giving to a group that is discriminatory, that uses pushing, that uses hatred speech, and as of this year with referendum 71, you also have to agree what took place and you have to ask yourselves did some of the money you gave help them take over 130,000 members of Washington State to court -- to court -- many times, in order to be able to prove what names were on the list of referendum 71, on those petitions. For one reason, and one reason only, and that is to intimidate, that is to harass and to scare anyone that disagrees with them.

Hutcherson took liberties with the truth and history. He claimed the Approve 71 campaign took his campaign to court several times. This is laughable.

Washington Families Standing Together (the Approve 71 Campaign's PAC) did go to court to request referendum 71 not be placed on the ballot because of evidence of fraud by the Reject 71 campaign. The King County Superior Court recognized our findings, but did not have the jurisdiction to prevent Referendum 71 from going to the ballot.

We appealed to Thurston County Superior Court. The judge acknowledged the evidence of fraud , but still allowed Referendum 71 to go to the ballot.

The Reject 71 campaign lead by Stephen Pigeon proceeded to go to court several more times throughout the campaign. The case Hutcherson referenced was about petition signatures. The Rejects wanted to keep their signatures anonymous. The State of Washington argued in favor of open government laws which have been on the books since the 1970s that require public petitions. The State further argued that the initiative and referendum processes allow citizens to serve as legislators so there is a public interest in transparency. The case will likely be heard by the United State Supreme Court.

Another case launched by the Rejects during the campaign, concerned campaign finance laws. Again, wishing to cloak themselves in anonymity, they wanted their contributor's name to be hiden from public view. They also wanted to remove campaign finance limits during the final week of the campaign. They lost their case.

None of Microsoft's money was used in any of the court cases. The Approve 71 campaign was represented pro-bono by Washington's best attorney's. They donated donated hundred of thousands of dollars worth of legal aid to Washington Families.

Microsoft's contribution did help fund vital outreach efforts that allowed us to communicate directly with Washington voters about our families and about the importance of the protections in the domestic partnership law.

Microsoft made a wise choice to invest in their employee's legal protection. As a state that protects all families under the law, Washington will continue to attract the best and brightest talent. Future and current LGBT employees will know their employer supports them, and in return they will be fiercely loyal to their employer.

Microsoft also benefited from hundreds of news reports and positive blog entries about their contribution. The earned media value easily surpassed their $100,000 investment. The positive press was coincidentally timed with the release of Windows 7.

Microsoft was a pioneer in their support for their LGBT employees, but they are no longer alone. Google, Yahoo, and Apple also support the LGBT community and their employees. Google endorsed the Approve 71 campaign and they opposed proposition 8. All three provide domestic partnership benefits and have comprehensive nondiscrimination policies.

Supporting the LGBT community and our goal for full equality under the law is good business. I'm happy to support those companies that support my family and so are millions of other Americans.


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Ken Hutcherson is the West Coast version of DC's Bishop Harry Jackson.

Having spent the last 12 years in and out of Seattle, Hutcherson's rants have become part of the background noise- sometimes irritating, but rarely something to grab my attention. I always found him to be ignorant, sensationalist (bordering on hysteria), obnoxious and thought his specious arguments would be viewed by most people in the same way I viewed them: ignorant bigotry.

Sadly, I didn't count on his zealous conviction having any kind of enduring power- he holds on with the tenacity of a tick, and now it's getting very irritating.

I'm pretty sure Microsoft will not be cowed, but I'm beginning to wonder how to counteract this angry, homophobic jihadist in a way that will be just as enduring. I'm wondering if this man is going to become an archetype more familiar to us in other guises: angry, worked up Christianists across the nation. I wonder.

Or maybe this is just the last holla of a really cranky neighbor who spots those damn kids on his lawn again from his deathbed....

Challange Microsoft and Gates?

Good luck to him. If Gates gets irritated enough he'll just buy the congregation and have the old bigot fired.

At least he is not just like Rev Akinola who signed on the new WASH Declaration:
Rev. Peter J. Akinola
Primate, Anglican Church of Nigeria (Abika, Nigeria)

According to Instaputz, he supported a 2006 Nigerian anti-gay bill which:

called for five years imprisonment for anyone who "performs, witnesses, aids, or abets" a same-sex marriage, and anyone who engaged in public advocacy or associations supporting the rights of lesbian and gay people.

Watch it folks, time to gear up for the BACKLASH!

LOrion, Hutcherson also signed the Manhattan Declaration that Akinola signed.

As for his Microsoft proposal, it was voted down 96% to 4%. His similar proposal last year also was profoundly rejected. I think he doesn't go to Microsoft thinking he can actually bring about change, I think he goes to get some spotlight.

When discussing Hutcherson, it should ALWAYS be mentioned he is a co-founder along with Scott Lively the Holocaust revisionist of Watchmen on the Walls which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center

Very good observation... Also, as someone already mentioned above, Hutcherson was a signer of the Manhattan Declaration, along with Peter Akinola. Guess who else was a signer? Maggie Gallagher. Kind of says something about where that lady is coming from...