Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife
MacKenzie have pledged to donate $2.5 million in support of
Referendum 74, the Washington state ballot question which would
uphold the state's gay marriage law.
The law, which was approved by
lawmakers at the urging of Governor Chris Gregoire, was set to take
effect last month but it was put on hold when opponents turned in
more than twice the number of signatures needed to put it up to a
public vote in November.
The Bezos gift more than doubles the
money available to the campaign to approve Referendum 74.
In an interview with The
New York Times, Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington
United for Marriage, called the donation a game changer.
“To get this from a straight, married
couple sends a powerful message that marriage is seen as a
fundamental question of fairness,” Silk said.
Mr. Bezos was approached via e-mail on
Sunday by Jennifer Cast, a former Amazon employee who is leading
fundraising for Washington United for Marriage.
The lesbian mother of four implored
Bezos to get into the fight.
“Jeff, I suspect you support marriage
equality. I beg you not to sit on the sidelines and hope the vote goes
our way. Help us make it so,” she wrote.
On Tuesday, Bezos replied: “Jen, this
is right for so many reasons. We're in for $2.5 million. Jeff &
co-founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer each gave $100,000 to the