There’s a story emerging that’s worth following. Last year, Microsoft publicly supported a bill in the Washington state legislature barring discrimination based on sexual preference. This year, they did not publicly support that bill, and some representatives of the American Taliban took credit for it. Steve Ballmer sent out an email to all Microsoft employees stating that Microsoft, he, and Bill Gates were all opposed to such discrimination, but that Microsoft has to respect the bigots it has on the payroll, and besides, it’s a public company and can’t afford to piss people off by weighing in on these issues. This is where Robert Scoble came in. He got permission to make the memo pubilc and blasted it on his weblog. Agree with him or disagree, you have to admire his guts.

Anyway, the story is unfolding as more Microsoft employees comment. The best place to follow the story as it unfolds is probably Scoble’s weblog.

Update: A reader writes to inform me that “sexual orientation” is preferable to “sexual preference,” which makes sense to me.