Amazon's Jeff Bezos, wife, make $2.5 million donation for gay marriage

Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:54pm EDT
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By Elaine Porterfield

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Amazon Inc founder Jeff Bezos and his wife have made what may be the biggest donation to the cause of gay marriage, contributing $2.5 million to a Washington state campaign to legalize same-sex nuptials there, the campaign said on Friday.

The donation to Washington United for Marriage comes as the question of deep-pocketed executives taking a stance on gay marriage has risen in prominence, with the mounting controversy over the president of Chick-fil-A's public opposition to same-sex marriage.

Bezos, who is chief executive of Amazon, and his wife, MacKenzie, had until now kept a lower profile on charitable and political contributions than other prominent high-tech billionaires in Washington state, such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda.

Andy Grow, a spokesman for Washington United for Marriage, said his group had checked with other campaigns and gay rights advocates were not aware of a larger donation.

"We think that it's the largest ever," he said of the Bezos' donation.

Washington United for Marriage is campaigning for Referendum 74, which if approved would affirm a law that passed the Democratic-led state Legislature in February and would have legalized gay marriage. The law was blocked from taking effect when opponents gathered enough signatures to put it on the November ballot.

"This is a history-making gift," Washington United for Marriage campaign manager Zach Silk said of the Bezos donation.

"I think it shows our goal of standing up for all Washington families is shared by many people, including Jeff Bezos and his wife," Silk said.   Continued...