At a recent Human Rights Campaign fund
raising event in San Francisco, openly gay millionaire Bruce Bastian
put his money where his mouth is by writing a check for $1 million of
his own money to fight California's passage of Proposition 8 – the
constitutional amendment that would once again ban gay marriage in
the state. It was a challenge to other donors who had yet to
“I know there are people waiting in
the wings and I wanted to nudge them, to inspire them,” he said.
Bastian is one of a small group of
philanthropic gay millionaires who are using their fortunes to effect
Jared Polis just won Colorado's 2nd
Congressional District Democratic primary race and in an
overwhelmingly Democratic district is a shoo-in to be elected the
third openly gay member of the House. But Polis is not campaigning
for a job. That's because the thirty-three-year old former member of
the Colorado State Board of Education is a millionaire. Instead,
Polis appears to be motivated by activism.
A picture of Polis and partner, writer
Marlon Reis – the pair holding hands high above their shoulders in
victory as they celebrate Tuesday's win – on the cover of national
newspapers is proof enough that the millionaire is out to change
minds about gays.
Bastian, the co-founder of Wordperfect
Corporation, has “always been quiet about his [GLBT] giving,”
Michael Marriott, Executive Director of the B.W. Bastian Foundation,
told On Top Magazine.
That certainly has
not been the case with his recent donation to fight passage of Prop 8
in California. Marriott says that's because the Mormon Church has
been so outspoken on the issue. In a letter, church leaders called
on California Mormons to “do all you can to support the proposed
constitutional amendment by donating all your means and time.”
“That made him
really mad,” Marriott said.
Bastian is a former
Mormon and graduated from Mormon supported Brigham Young University.
Several years after coming out, Bastian left the church over various
church doctrines opposing homosexuals. Now, with his four children
grown, Bastian has become increasingly vocal in his support for GLBT
In a rare interview
with the local Salt Lake City ABC affiliate, Bastian was asked if he
believed the Mormon Church should change its stance towards gays. “I
don't think anything I say or do will ever change that. It's my
opinion and they are where they are because that's what they believe.
But, yeah, I personally believe it's wrong,” he responded.
Polis is a liberal philanthropist as
well. He founded schools both for the homeless and for immigrants
with the millions he accumulated from Internet companies
ProFlowers.com and BlueMountainArts.com.
On his website (polisforcongress.com)
he addresses America's most pressing GLBT inequalities, such as
workplace discrimination, marriage rights, and the military's ban on
GLBT people serving openly.
“To strengthen our national defense,
we must cease the removal of capable and courageous members of our
military based exclusively on their openness about their sexual
orientation,” Polis said.
Polis campaigned on bread-and-butter
Democratic issues, such as ending the Iraq war and universal health
care, not just gay issues. Still, he pressed the flesh at gay pride
festivals and told the Denver Post that he looks forward to
taking Marlon to a delegation dinner in Washington D.C. and would
prefer to sit beside anti-gay Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (Republican).
“I think I can change a lot of minds
on a personal level – win people over to show that sexual
orientation is not a measure of people's integrity,” Polis said.
When asked why Bastian has taken such a
bold position against Prop 8, Marriott answers: “He wants