Amazon.com Founder Supports Gay Marriage with $2.5 Million
Jul 27, 2012 12:43 PM EDT
Founder and president of amazon.com, Jeff Bezon and his wife MacKinzie donated 2.5 million dollars to save a same-sex marriage law in a Washington State referendum.
The founder of the multibillion dollar online retail empire was approached by a former Amazon employee Jennifer Cast, who is currently chair of fund-raising of the pro-referendum effort, who requested a donation of $100,000-$200,000. Little did she expect what was to come. Bezos sent her an email, "Jen, This is right for so many reasons. We're in for 2.5 million." Signed "Jeff & MacKenzie," as published by the New York Times.
Cast was obviously ecstatic. The 2.5 million is the largest amount the same-sex marriage effort has received, making Bezos and his wife the highest financial backers. Microsoft Billionaire Bill Gates had donated $100,000 to the cause, but the $2.5 certainly makes the amount seem meager.
In February, Washington State passed the same-sex marriage law, however a referendum is to be held in order to confirm its passing in the state legislature. The referendum is known as referendum 75. If passed, the state will be the seventh in the country that would allow same-sex couples to marry. Currently, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and District of Columbia are the six states that permit marriage between same genders.
The issue of same-sex marriage is expected to be the next big issue after health care that the Supreme Court will take on after it returns for the next session. The court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1996, which denies financial benefits to same-sex couples. Although the case doesn't directly address the issue of gay-marriage per say, if taken on by the apex court, it will be the first time the issue is addressed at the federal level.
Last month, President Obama released a statement saying that he agreed with the lower-court's decision to overturn DOMA but "wants prompt high court review," (Associated Press).