This is the tale of the 1% standing up for the rights of the, and I’m guessing here, the 10%
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com, and his wife, MacKenzie, are donating $2.5 million to help pass that same-sex marriage referendum in Washington. This makes the couple among the largest financial backers of marriage equality rights in the entire country.
And I say Bravo and Brava!
The donation has doubled the money available to Referendum 74 proponents, who are calling it a “game-changing gift that gives them a fighting chance” in November.
Zach Silk, the campaign manager for Washington United For Marriage, says, “To get this from a straight, married couple sends a powerful message that marriage is seen as a fundamental question of fairness.”
Thursday in an interview.
Bezos joins a growing list of heterosexual business executives—like Bill Gates and Steven Ballmer--who are replacing wealthy gay people as the some of the biggest donors to the movement behind marriage equality. Those two men each gave $100,000, but with his seven-figure gift, Bezos has now set the bar even higher.
Jennifer Cast, one of Amazon’s earliest employees and a lesbian mother of four, and a now a fundraiser for the pro-referendum effort, emailed Bezos recently about marriage equality.
In her e-mail, Cast asked 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. 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 says she gad no idea how Bezos would respond until she received an email back from him:
“Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are an extremely private couple, and declined, through a public relations representative, to be interviewed about their donation, but their gift speaks volumes. Loudly.