The Seattle Times Co. has donated $75,000 in advertising to the campaign to approve Referendum 74, the Washington state referendum which asks voters to uphold – or reject – a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers.

The pro-gay marriage ads are an in-kind contribution to Washington United for Marriage, which is working to approve the measure.

Foes of marriage equality condemned the paper's decision.

The Times decision is “a stunning example of journalistic bias, greed and stupidity,” said Frank Schubert, campaign director for Preserve Marriage Washington. He added that the paper had “abandoned any pretense of objectivity.”

Seattle Times executives said in a news release that the decision was made by the corporate side of The Times, and was “completely separate from the journalism functions of the newspaper.”

Alan Fisco, Seattle Times executive vice president, called the ads a pilot project designed to help generate revenue by showing the power of newspaper political advertising.

According to The Times, a dozen news staff members had signed onto a letter protesting the decision.

The project also includes an ad campaign promoting Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna.