Microsoft has joined five other companies in supporting a tightly-contested bid to legalise same-sex marriage in Washington.

The software giant, along with Vulcan, Nike, RealNetworks, Group Health Cooperative and Concur, said that it backs a bill to allow gays and lesbians to marry in the state.

The bill is reported to be shy of just one vote needed to pass in the state senate.

“We believe that passing this bill would be good for our business and good for the state’s economy,” said Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft.

He explained that in today’s highly competitive business environment the company needed to be able to attract the best talent from around the world.

“As other states recognise marriage equality, Washington’s employers are at a disadvantage if we cannot offer a similar, inclusive environment to our talented employees, our top recruits and their families,” said Smith on his blog.

“Marriage equality in Washington would put employers here on an equal footing with employers in the six other states that already recognise the committed relationships of same-sex couples – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. This in turn will help us continue to compete for talent.”

Hearings on the bill are expected to begin next week in the state legislature.

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