Asserting itself as a powerful advocate for gay rights, the Microsoft Corporation donated $100,000 to the campaign trying to approve Referendum 71, a report filed today with the state Public Disclosure Commission shows (.pdf). If voters approve the measure, they will uphold the state's domestic-partnership law, but a recent poll shows that only 51 percent of likely voters support the referendum.

This took guts. Microsoft's brazen role in R-71 will outrage the Ken Hutchersons of the world, who pressured Microsoft for years to back off from supporting gay-rights legislation. And it could also summon conservative interests—e.g., the Mormon Church—to dump money in on the other side. After October 12, state rules block any person or group from donating more than $5,000 to the campaign.

Microsoft's donation is larger than all the contributions combined for the campaign to reject R-71, called Protect Marriage Washington, run by a handful of Christian extremists who have reported only $55,217 in contributions.

Right on, Microsoft!