Uh oh: 60% of Intel employees who donated in Prop 8 debate supported banning gay marriage

Using the LA Times’s trusty blacklist database, Nate Silver ran the numbers on donations from people who work at Fortune 500 Silicon Valley companies and discovered that a majority of every company’s employees donated towards defeating the ban. Every company, that is, except one.

I want you to go grab some pliers, crack open your computer console, and join me in tearing the processor right out of that sucker. Political correctness begins on your own desktop, my friends.

The Los Angeles Times maintains a database of contributions for and against Proposition 8. The database includes the names of a donor’s employer, as is required by campaign finance law. I checked the records for some of the largest technology companies in Silicon Valley: specifically those that were in the Fortune 500 as of 2008. The list includes Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Cisco Systems, Apple, Google, Sun Microsystems, eBay, Oracle, Yahoo, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Symantec. I limited the search to donors who listed California as their location.

In total between these 11 companies, 83 percent of employee donations were in opposition to Proposition 8. So Eich was in a 17 percent minority relative to the top companies in Silicon Valley…

However, there was quite a bit of variation from business to business. At Intel, 60 percent of employee donations were in support of Proposition 8. By contrast, at Apple, 94 percent of employee donations were made in opposition to Proposition 8. The opposition was even higher at Google, where 96 percent of employee donations were against it, including $100,000 from co-founder Sergey Brin.

Follow the link for Silver’s table with the numbers for each company. The only footnote to Intel being the sole outlier is that, at Hewlett-Packard, while there were more employees who donated against Prop 8 than for it (103/54), supporters ended up donating more actual money than opponents did ($40,990/$32,616). Sounds like someone, or ones, at HP is busting out big bucks to defeat equality. We should find them. “HP” does resemble “H8,” you know.

As for Intel, there are four ways the Eich-purgers can play it. One: Boycott the company. Won’t happen, though — Intel’s too important and it might be judged unfair to punish the entire institution for the views of a few dozen employees. Two: Ignore it on “mission accomplished” grounds. The point in banishing Eich was to warn other social conservatives in the industry to stay in line. You can do that by diligently hounding dozens of middle managers at Intel or you can do it by scalping one big-name guy with lots of press coverage. The latter’s more efficient and the message will be received just as loudly and clearly by interested parties. No need to scalp anyone else, for now. Three: Identify the highest-ranking Prop 8 supporter at each company named by Silver and purge him/her. What kind of witch hunt only ends up burning one witch, after all? There may be no Prop 8 fan at Intel quite as prominent as Eich but someone necessarily qualifies as the biggest fish in that particular pond. Throw out a line! Four: Suspend the purges in favor of a “no major promotion” policy instead. Like I said earlier, that’s really what the Eich case is about. His donation’s been a matter of public record for five years but only after he became the face of Mozilla by being named CEO was it deemed an unforgivable trespass. Prop 8 fans can continue to work in tech as long as they aren’t given positions of significant influence. That’s when the hammer comes down.

Exit question: When do we get a list of Silicon Valley donors to Obama’s campaign circa 2008, when he was still formally against traditional marriage? True, he didn’t support Prop 8 or other attempts to legally ban SSM (a strong signal at the time that his stated view was a lie), but the whole point of the equal protection argument against traditional marriage laws is that you can’t reserve “marriage” for straights without implicitly slapping a second-class-citizen stigma on gays. Obama was willing to do that, at least rhetorically. Let’s have the names.

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