Gay Marriage | Jeff Bezos | News | Washington

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos and Wife Give $2.5 Million in Support of Same-Sex Marriage


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie have made a $2.5 million donation to secure the freedom to marry for gays and lesbians in Washington State, Washington United for Marriage announced this morning:

WAWashington United for Marriage (WUM), the statewide coalition working to defend the state’s law protecting civil marriage for same-sex couples, today announced an historic, $2.5 million gift from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos.  It is believed to be the largest individual gift in the country to secure or protect the freedom to marry.  With the Bezos’ gift, WUM has now raised over $5 million towards its broad, statewide campaign to approve Referendum 74 in November.

“I am thrilled by Jeff and MacKenzie’s staggeringly generous donation,” said Jennifer Cast, who serves as WUM’s volunteer finance co-chair and spent over seven years in various senior positions at “Their support of our efforts to approve R74 comes at an important time and will have great impact.  I am deeply grateful to both of them as this donation is going to help us make history.”

“The extraordinary contribution from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos will make an enormous difference for our campaign to defend Washington’s marriage law,” said WUM’s campaign manager, Zach Silk. “While it provides an amazing base for the work ahead, we hope it spurs others to invest because we’re a long way from November and we face opponents with deep pockets who are committed to spending millions to defeat us.”

CastThe NYT reports on the how the gift came about:

Mr. Bezos was approached via e-mail on Sunday by Jennifer Cast, one of Amazon’s earliest employees and a lesbian mother of four children who is now a fund-raising chairwoman of the pro-referendum effort.

In her e-mail, sent Sunday evening, Ms. Cast, 50, implored Mr. Bezos to understand the importance of the issue to her and her longtime partner.

“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,” Ms. Cast wrote. “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.”

Cast described the pain she had endured as a young gay person and asked for a donation of $100K or $200K but had no idea how Bezos would respond:

“Jeff, I suspect you support marriage equality,” she wrote. “I beg you not to sit on the sidelines and hope the vote goes our way. Help us make it so.”

She hit “send” and waited.

Two days later, on Tuesday, she received a reply while in a car with her family. Recalling that moment, she said she had to read it out loud twice to make sure she had read it right.

“Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”

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  1. Wow.

    Posted by: bryan | Jul 27, 2012 7:40:42 AM

  2. That is awesome! Someone alert One Thousand Moms.

    I like hearing these stories of corporate executives who support us more than I like hearing about those who don't. We need to support the good guys.

    Posted by: endo | Jul 27, 2012 7:42:15 AM

  3. Oh, no. Now the One Million Moms have ANOTHER comapny to boycott. There go their wish lists and recommendations pages!

    Posted by: Mary | Jul 27, 2012 7:49:04 AM

  4. Thank Mr. Bezos I am astounded at your gift.

    Let's see how well the One Million Monsters boycott of the ubiquitous Amazon works out for them.

    His company and his gift makes other CEOs companies look like "chicken" feed. Nice to have Jeff in our corner rather than those "chicken" shits on the other side.

    Posted by: kujhawker | Jul 27, 2012 7:49:40 AM

  5. Amazing!

    Prepare yourselves for the I-can't-think-critically right-wing shrills of "this is EXACTLY what Chick-fil-A is doing, the other way around."

    If they only knew that fighting for equality was the exact opposite of fighting against equality...

    Posted by: kpo5 | Jul 27, 2012 8:20:18 AM

  6. Hey! I just ordered a new carpet shampooer from this guy. Dirt cheap, too. Now I feel even better about my purchase.

    Posted by: Otkon | Jul 27, 2012 8:23:11 AM

  7. My heartfelt thanks go to Jeff and Mackenzie for their investment in our future.
    I just bought stock in Amazon and will go long holding onto this investment.

    Posted by: bALAN | Jul 27, 2012 8:24:52 AM

  8. Dear Jeff & Mackenzie,

    I actually teared up a little when I read this. Silly, but there it is. Thanks a whole bunch.

    Posted by: jusdeananas | Jul 27, 2012 8:30:32 AM

  9. I love Amazon, and I think this is wonderful, but why do our basic civil rights need tons of cash?

    Posted by: John Normile | Jul 27, 2012 8:43:15 AM

  10. @John: Because those who want to deny us our basic civil rights spend tons of cash to do so.

    Posted by: endo | Jul 27, 2012 8:50:45 AM

  11. I'm a little surprised to see "Americans For Sherrif Joe" ads on this page or site. Join the fight against illegal immigration? Ads by Google.
    Really Towleroad?

    Posted by: Bill Armstrong | Jul 27, 2012 8:52:17 AM

  12. Wow! Just wow! Can you imagine what getting that email was like for her? SO glad I have been a longtime Amazon supporter! This is just the kind of news I want to read to start my day off right. Bring on the annoying boycotts. Just got paid today and I'm heading to Amazon right now.

    Posted by: AJ | Jul 27, 2012 8:58:03 AM

  13. This is brilliant, thank you Mr Bezos and family!!!

    Posted by: Andreas | Jul 27, 2012 9:09:01 AM

  14. perhaps, Bill Armstrong, you should investigate how internet advertising works before "calling out" Towleroad, which has no control over which ads appear on the site.

    Posted by: jacksonhumboldt | Jul 27, 2012 9:13:17 AM

  15. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

    INCREDIBLE news.

    One of the most triumphant to come in weeks for us.

    Posted by: Dynex | Jul 27, 2012 9:20:33 AM

  16. Thank You. Let's do some eshopping and show our gratitude!

    Posted by: erick_83 | Jul 27, 2012 9:25:37 AM

  17. This is great, but it is interesting that it comes on the heels of the PR nightmare Amazon just went through when it was revealed how terribly they treated their factory workers.

    Doing everything I can to believe they are not just jumping on the cause célèbre bandwagon for some badly needed positive philanthropic press.

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 27, 2012 9:27:51 AM

  18. Those lesbians...

    Reminds me of that time they had the audacity to selfishly help take care of gay men when the AIDS crisis hit.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 27, 2012 9:33:16 AM

  19. if they are "mark", everyone should jump that way...

    Posted by: bandanajack | Jul 27, 2012 9:34:30 AM

  20. Thank you Bezos! As for Bills comment I just saw an add for "right wing and tea party tee shirts on cafe press!

    Posted by: Tom in long beach | Jul 27, 2012 9:54:48 AM

  21. This is wonderful, and I'm not sure how anyone who supports gay rights could find anything negative in it. But I guess some people will always find some angle to be pissed off about.

    Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Bezos.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jul 27, 2012 9:56:05 AM

  22. Thanks a mill.....two and a half the Bezos family. This is amazing news.

    With nowhere left to shop, it's getting difficult to distinguish the homeless from the One Million Moms......

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Jul 27, 2012 10:01:04 AM

  23. Fantastic news.

    But wait, I thought we wanted big money out of politics? I guess it's OK for millions to be donated if you AGREE with the cause. And I assume it will be all right for anti-gay cities to deny Amazon the right to do business in their jurisdictions too?

    (Not trolling but people need to be consistent in the application of their principles...)

    Posted by: Dan | Jul 27, 2012 10:01:33 AM

  24. This soooo trumps any news about Stank Fil-a. I love it.

    Posted by: AJ | Jul 27, 2012 10:02:42 AM

  25. God bless these people. For real.

    Posted by: Rick | Jul 27, 2012 10:04:39 AM

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