Amazon's Bezos donates $2.5M in support of same-sex marriage

The e-commerce magnate wholeheartedly gives his support to the same-sex marriage campaign in Washington State, donating millions of dollars.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon is the latest tech company to come out in support of same-sex marriage. And judging from the size of founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' whopping $2.5 million donation to defend same-sex marriage in Washington State, there's no mistaking how the e-commerce magnate feels about the cause. This is the largest-ever publicly reported donation to a marriage campaign, according to the Associated Press.

Bezos announced Friday that he was making the donation with his wife MacKenzie to Washington United for Marriage, a group working to uphold the state's same-sex marriage law. Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener told the Associated Press that, "Jeff and MacKenzie feel strongly about the issue."

Same-sex marriage is technically already legal in Washington State because of a law signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in February. However, after gay-marriage opponents gathered 240,000 signatures to overturn the law, it was put on hold for a referendum vote in November.

Bezos became involved in the campaign after a former Amazon employee who is now working as a volunteer fundraiser asked him to help out. He responded to her by e-mail saying, "Jen, this is right for so many reasons. We're in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie," according to the Associated Press.

Bezos already publicly supported the law signed by Gov. Gregoire in February but until now hadn't publicly given donations. Amazon is now one of several tech companies that support gay marriage in the U.S.

Gaming company Electronic Arts earlier this month joined a coalition of American businesses opposing the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. And Apple , Cisco, Facebook , Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have also signed on. According to the Associated Press, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates each donated $100,000 last month to support Gov. Gregoire's law.

Bezos' donation comes on the heels of a recent Chick-fil-A kerfuffle , in which the fast food restaurant's president declared that he supported "the biblical definition of the family unit." Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to Facebook and Twitter either denouncing or supporting Chick-fil-A. Former Republican Party nominee for Vice President Sarah Palin has openly kept up her consumption of the chain's fried chicken.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., and Vermont. Maryland and Maine are in similar situations to Washington, where voters will decide on a law in November.

CNET contacted Amazon for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.

 

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