Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, has pledged $2.5 million to help pass Referendum 74, which would affirm the marriage equality law passed by elected officials in Washington State earlier this year. Bezos’ pledge joins those of Microsoft executives Bill Gates and Steven A. Ballmer, who have also pushed for the passage of Referendum 74.
Bezos is part of a growing list of corporate executives who have made marriage equality a substantial part of their philanthropy. “With this commitment, Jeff Bezos has become the latest in a long line of corporate leaders to stand up for the LGBT community,” said Herndon Graddick, GLAAD President. “The business world knows that supporting LGBT people is not only good for their employees and their communities, it’s good for their bottom line. We thank Jeff Bezos for standing tall with the loving and committed couples at the center of the movement to preserve the marriage equality law passed by Washington’s elected officials earlier this year.”
Support for marriage equality often comes from personal relationships, and Bezos’ support seems no different. His contribution comes after Jennifer Cast, who worked alongside Bezos at Amazon’s inception, when the company had just a couple dozen employees, emailed to ask for his support. Cast, who raised four children with her partner, wrote that she “want[s] 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.” She received a response two days later. “Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”
GLAAD is thrilled that Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have chosen to show their support for marriage equality with such kindness and generosity. Their contribution to the push to pass Referendum 74 in Washington will surely have a lasting impact.