Main | Friday, July 27, 2012

WASHINGTON: Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Donates $2.5M To Marriage Equality

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife have donated $2.5M to help Washington state's marriage equality movement.
With the gift, the couple have doubled the money available to the proponents of Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in the state by affirming a law that passed the Legislature this year. Courts or lawmakers have declared gay marriage legal in six other states, but backers of such measures have never succeeded at the ballot box. Proponents of the effort in Washington State called it a game-changing gift that gives them a fighting chance in November. “To get this from a straight, married couple sends a powerful message that marriage is seen as a fundamental question of fairness,” Zach Silk, the campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, said Thursday in an interview.
The New York Times reports that the donation came about after a former Amazon employee who is a lesbian mom of four directly emailed Bezos.
In the e-mail, Ms. Cast described in detail the pain she endured as a young adult and the difficulties she faced publicly acknowledging her sexuality. At the end, she pointedly asked him to donate between $100,000 and $200,000 to the referendum cause. “Jeff, I suspect you support marriage equality,” she wrote. “I beg you not to sit on the sidelines and hope the vote goes our way. Help us make it so.” She hit “send” and waited. Two days later, on Tuesday, she received a reply while in a car with her family. Recalling that moment, she said she had to read it out loud twice to make sure she had read it right. “Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”

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