Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Donates $2.5 Million in Support of Same-Sex Marriage
When Jennifer Cast reached out to her former Amazon boss, CEO Jeff Bezos, she was unsure what the outcome would be. Cast, a lesbian mother of four and one of Amazon’s earliest employees is a fund-raising chairwoman of Referendum 74, which aims to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington State.
LGBTQ Washingtonians jumped for joy in February when Governor Christine Gregoire signed gay marriage into law, only to let out a collective “WTF?!” when opponents collected 232,000 signatures to bring the legislation to referendum. You can thank the bible-thumping lunatics over at Preserve Marriage Washington for most of that.
Feeling the pressure, Cast asked Bezos for understanding and support via email.
Though Cast worked closely with Bezos in the early days of Amazon, she never discussed the issue of marriage equality with the billionaire CEO.
In the e-mail, Ms. Cast described in detail the pain she endured as a young adult and the difficulties she faced publicly acknowledging her sexuality. At the end, she pointedly asked him to donate between $100,000 and $200,000 to the referendum cause.
“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.”
Two days later, Cast received an email from Bezos and his wife.
“Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”
The Bezos’ generous donation has doubled funds available to proponents of Referendum 74, making them the largest financial backers of same-sex marriage in the country.
Mr. Bezos and his wife have declined interviews, but this is certainly monumental news for LGBTQ Washington State residents, as well as supporters of marriage equality.
President Obama advocates same-sex marriage, and now powerful CEOs are “coming out” in support as well. How do you feel about all of this?
(via The New York Times. Image: Stephen Lovekin/WireImage)