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06/29/2012

Should fair-minded tech companies foster 'same-sex marriage is a sharp dagger' voices?

by Jeremy Hooper

There's been a controversy brewing in the progressive blogosphere about NationBuilder, an online campaigning toolkit that was built up by left-leaners, entering into an exclusive deal with the RSLC. AmericaBlog reports:

NationBuilder has, in my estimation, been successful at making online organizing tools more accessible to people with less money to spend.

All of this is preface to another disappointing development: NationBuilder has announced a deal to be the "exclusive software provider for the Republican State Leadership Committee."

Excuse me?

The RSLC helps elect Republican state legislators, the very people who are going around the country passing things like bans on marriage equality, racist laws targeting immigrants for deportation, and rolling back reproductive rights and environmental protections.

Another liberal tech company doing work for conservatives [AmericaBlog]

And I do have to admit that I am somewhat on this fence about it when framed purely in a partisan way. A lot of tech tools operate like this, sometimes even making the choice down the road after first performing in one way. Regardless of my personal politics, I see the purely political part of the story as having nuance.

But now get this. I have learned that not only is this progressive-built firm working with anti-equality candidates as part of its deal with the GOP, but that they are also making money helping out some of the most hostile voices in the nation. One of those voices is Stephen Pidgeon, the man who is running for Attorney General in Washington State and, more to our purposes, heading up the even more far-right coalition that has been working separate from the NOM crowd to ban marriage in that state:

201206291107-1
[Stephen Pidgeon]

To remind you of how Stephen Pidgeon engages on this issue, listen to him warn James Dobson of the "oligarchs" (aka judges) who are telling states they can't "be righteous in the sight of God" (aka civilly discriminate against gays) as they go about their work "desecrating the temple" (aka preserving and protecting freedoms):


[SOURCE: Dobson's Family Talk]

Oh, and here's Mr. Pidgeon warning that same-sex marriage is a "sharp dagger in the soul of the nation"—one that will ultimately bring us down:


SOURCE: Stand For Marriage [AB Church]

This is where the situation changes for me. It's one thing for a company, regardless of root, to expand its business in a new, nonpartisan way. But Stephen Pidgeon is a full-on anti-gay activist who is working for that expressed purpose. The website that NationBuilder created and is powering is filled with marriage stuff related to Pidgeon's ongoing attempt to demonize gays and overturn their legal rights. This is not pure politics—this is personal!

On matters this personal, there is more than profit motivation involved. Or at least should be.

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