Jerame Davis

Google, Yahoo, Twitter oppose Prop 8

Filed By Jerame Davis | October 31, 2008 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Geeks, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Apple, California Proposition 8, gay marriage, Google, Microsoft, Prop 8, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, technology, Twitter, Yahoo

San Francisco and the Bay Area are known for being a bit liberal and for being the gay Mecca of the West. Another reason the area is well known is Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley, the heart of the country's tech industry, is a storied place. Many of today's hottest tech companies got their start in the valley, including Apple, Google, HP, and Adobe.

Today comes news that the tech companies of Silicon Valley have created a coalition to oppose Prop 8. The coalition released a full-page ad in today's San Jose Mercury News, which is a major daily in the Bay area.

A full list of signatories and the text of the ad are after the jump.

There are some notable absences in this list. Apple, which recently gave $100,000 to No on 8, doesn't have a signatory on the list. Neither does Microsoft or HP, which have been supportive of gay rights in the past. Microsoft famously backtracked on their support of a gay rights bill when they were attacked by right-wing organizations for supporting non-discrimination in housing and employment in Washington State, so they could be a little gun-shy.

The list wasn't final when the press release was made available, so it is possible some others signed on to the final version of the ad.

If someone out there has a copy of the Mercury News, get us a scan of the ad and we'll put it up.

Silicon Valley Leaders Urge You to Stand for Equality. Vote No on Proposition 8.

As Silicon Valley leaders, we are committed to equality and fairness. We are opposed to Proposition 8 because it would change our state constitution to take away rights from one group of people. It would set our state, and our country, back in the fight for fundamental fairness and equal rights.

Please join us by reaching out to friends and neighbors and asking them to stand for fairness: Vote No on Proposition 8 on November 4th.

Silicon Valley Leaders Say NO on Proposition 8
(titles are for identification purposes only)

Sergey Brin, Founder, Google, Inc.
Bill Campbell, Chairman, Intuit Inc.
David Filo, Founder, Yahoo! Inc.
Chuck Geschke, Founder & Chairman, Adobe Systems, Inc.
John Morgridge, Former CEO & Chairman, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Pierre Omidyar, Founder and Chairman, eBay Inc., Founding Partner, Omidyar Network
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google, Inc.
Jerry Yang, Founder, Yahoo! Inc.

LEADERS (partial list)
Deborah Barber, Principal, Jackson Hole Group
John Battelle, Chairman & CEO, Federated Media
Larry Birenbaum, Former Senior Vice President, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Lorna Borenstein, President, Move, Inc.
Larry Brilliant, Executive Director,
Owen Byrd, President, Byrd Development
John Chisholm, Chairman & CEO, CustomerSat, Inc.
Barry Cinnamon, CEO, Akeena Solar
Tod Cohen, Director of Government Affairs, eBay Inc.
LaDoris Cordell, Administrator, Stanford University
Sue Decker, President, Yahoo! Inc.
Jack Dorsey, Chairman, Twitter
David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development & Chief Legal Officer, Google, Inc.
Donna Dubinsky, CEO, Numenta, Inc.
Alan Eustace, SVP, Engineering and Research, Google, Inc.
Naomi Fine, President & CEO, Pro-Tec Data, Inc.
Rachel Glaser COO/CFO,
Carl Guardino, President & CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Andre Haddad, CEO,
Jeff Hawkins, co-Founder Palm, Handspring, and Numenta
David Karnstedt, Investor
Scott Kaspick, Managing Director, Kaspick & Co.
Steve Kirsch, Serial Entrepreneur
John Koza, CEO, Third Millennium
Ross LaJeunesse, Head of State Policy Western US, Google, Inc.
Gary Lauder, Managing Partner, Lauder Partners Venture Capital
Laura Lauder, General Partner, Lauder Partners Venture Capital
Len Lehman, Investor
John Luongo, Former CEO, Vantive Corporation
Roger McNamee, Managing Director & co-Founder, Elevation Partners
Ken McNeely, President, AT&T California
Michael Moritz, Partner, Sequoia Capital
Susan Packard Orr, CEO, Telosa Software, Inc.
Randy Pond, Executive Vice President, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Amy Rao, Founder & CEO, Integrated Archive Systems
Jana Rich, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds
Miriam Rivera, Former Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Google, Inc.
Dan Rosensweig, Investor
Dan Rubin, Partner, Alloy Ventures
Hilary Schneider, Executive Vice President US Region, Yahoo! Inc.
Len Shustek, Chairman, Computer History Museum
Jeff Skoll, Former President, eBay Inc.
Stephanie Tilenius, SVP, eBay North America
Joy Weiss, President & CEO, Dust Networks
Steve Westly, former California State Controller & former SVP eBay Inc.
Evan Williams, CEO, Twitter

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BE CAREFUL this Halloween! The Mormon Church plans to hand out explicit literature to YOUR kids!

I think a $100,000 donation is a de facto endorsement. I don't see how anyone can construe Apple's corporate stance as anything but pro-equality. Aside from the old saw about the relative positions of money and mouth, the ad text says that the titles listed are for identification purposes only, to signal that they aren't representing their companies. However, Apple's donation is directly from their company. There's no reason for Apple to not sign the ad, and it is preferable for them to do so, but I'd rather have the $100K.

As for Microsoft, since they aren't a CA. company, perhaps they didn't feel the need to weigh in. The wording in the ad does specifically refer to their state and state constitution. I suppose that Silicon Valley isn't so much a place as an industry (or - like, wow - a state of mind!), they should have been included. After all, discrimination knows no boundaries.

Microsoft did un-backtrack about the WA state bills after blowback from the GLBT community, BTW. Not exactly the picture of moral courage, but at least they did ultimately do the right thing.

Oh, as long as I'm talking about Microsoft's corporate GLBT policies, I should take a moment to mention that they pay for transition. That includes surgery. That's an extremely minority employer position.

Nobody's construing Apple isn't pro-equality. Just reporting they did not sign the ad. I'm personally curious if they refused or if they weren't offered an opportunity to sign, but I wouldn't ever construe Apple as not pro-equality. I'll call them cheap, but they're not anti-gay.

Microsoft, while in a different state, is a de facto member of Silicon Valley. Regardless, if you look at the list - or click through and read the article - not all of these folks are from companies that are in Silicon Valley. That part of your assessment was accurate - Silicon Valley is more of an industry than an area these days. But even Microsoft has offices in the real Silicon Valley.

It's great that they pay for surgery. That's very commendable. But quietly paying for a handful of surgeries isn't quite the same as publicly taking a stand for equality. Microsoft wavered under pressure which says their commitment isn't as firm as one would hope.

Apple has been far more steadfast in its commitment to LGBT rights, they just didn't sign this ad - at least not as the writing of the article I quoted. No one has sent in a scanned copy.

Yeah, I don't disagree with any of that.

Stopping Prop 8 will make a huge statement across our nation -- including in Indiana -- and will help prevent writing discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers into our state's constitution.  It will prove that it's not popular, not necessary and would speak poorly of our state. Each of us can help wind down this hateful movement that's now gasping its last breath across our country.  But if we don't stop it in California next Tuesday, it will be further emboldened to rear its ugly head again -- including here in Indiana.

We have a razor-thin lead as of Friday afternoon, but the Religious Right is pouring money and people into California this weekend. Help make history right now! The single most important thing you can do, this instant, is to take two minutes with your charge card and visit and donate $25, or $50 -- the cost of a tank of gas. If your conscience moves you to do more, that's all the better. You will have few chances in your lifetime to ever help change our country like what you can do right now. We must keep No-On-8 ads up on TV all over California this weekend!

Charles darwin | November 11, 2008 9:53 AM

Due the the Laws of natural selection people who are gay will only survive for the next two generations.