Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie is donating $2.5 million to help pass same-sex marriage referendum in the state of Washington according to The New York Times.
Bezos’ donation makes them the largest financial backers of gay marriage rights in the United States.
Their donation has doubled the amount of money available to Referendum 74 proponents, which would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. Earlier this month Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer donated $100,000 to support the law.
If the law is passed, Washington will become the 7th state to legalize gay marriage. Referendum 74 was certified for the November ballot in May and is trying to further to push for the gay marriage law signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire in February.
The law was supposed to go into effect on June 7th, but is on hold. Gay marriage opponents are trying to raise $4 million to fight the referendum and proponents are pledging to raise $8 million. With Bezos’ donation, backers of Referendum 74 are only $3 million short of the $8 million goal.
Jennifer Cast, an early Amazon employee, is a chairwoman of the pro-referendum movement. Cast is a lesbian mother of 4 and she sent an e-mail to Bezos on Sunday night explaining why it is important that the referendum passes.
?I want to have the right to marry the love of my life and to let my children and grandchildren know their family is honored like a ?real? family. We need help from straight people. To be very frank, we need help from wealthy straight people who care about us and who want to help us win,? said Cast in an e-mail to Bezos.
Cast acknowledges that she struggled with her sexuality as a younger adult and still struggles to acknowledge it today. She asked Bezos for between $100,000 and $200,000. Bezos replied by saying ?Jen, this is right for so many reasons. We?re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.?