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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 3 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 31
$2.5m for marriage equality
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$2.5m for marriage equality

Amazon.com founder & wife pony up big bucks to Approve R-74

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On July 27, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, along with his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, delivered a $2.5 million donation to Washington United for Marriage, the campaign for marriage equality in Washington state.

With this contribution, the pair became the two largest financial supporters of same-sex marriage in the United States.

'It's an amazing gift, an amazing investment in our campaign and we're really grateful to Jeff and MacKenzie,' Washington United for Marriage Campaign Manager Zach Silk said. 'It's clear to us that they saw this as the time to step up and invest in the opportunity to make history.'

Jennifer Cast, Washington United for Marriage campaign finance chair, was one of the earliest employees at Amazon. A Lesbian mother of four, Cast sent an email to Bezos that described in detail the pain she endured as a young adult and the difficulties she faced publicly acknowledging her sexuality. She asked Bezos to donate upward of $200,000 to the campaign to Approve Referendum 74 - the ballot initiative that put same-sex marriage in Washington to public vote.

'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.'

Cast received a reply, 'Jen,' the e-mail said, 'this is right for so many reasons. We're in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.'

R-74 OPPONENTS NOT PLEASED
Preserve Marriage Washington, a conservative organization opposed to R-74, released a statement July 27 on its website, claiming that 'if this law goes unchallenged, voters would have no say and marriage would be changed for every person in our state from being the union of one man and one woman to being a genderless institution.'

The organization said the Bezos donation would help 'impose same-sex marriage' in Washington.

Bezos' gift more than doubles the $2.3 million previously raised by Washington United for Marriage.

Still, in a July 30 email sent to supporters, Silk warned, 'The worst thing we can do at this point in this campaign is get complacent. While this gift is a huge shot in the arm, we still have millions more to raise to fully fund a campaign that will win in November.'

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