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Amazon founder aids WA gay marriage drive

July 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM
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SPOKANE, Wash., July 27 (UPI) -- The founder of Amazon.com and his wife have goosed the drive to approve same-sex marriage in Washington state with a donation of $2.5 million.

Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, will aid the campaign to pass Referendum 74, which would legalize marriage between same-sex partners, The New York Times reports.

The top supporter of the referendum praised the contribution from the straight married couple as a "powerful message" that marriage is "a fundamental question of fairness." Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, said she had sent the Bezoses an e-mail Sunday night asking for a contribution. They responded on Tuesday.

Heterosexual executives such as Bill Gates and Steven Ballmer of Microsoft are joining wealthy gay executives as top contributors to same-sex marriage campaigns. Gates and Ballmer have each given $100,000.

Such gifts are being used to counterbalance well-funded opposition. While President Barack Obama has come out in support of same-sex unions, campaigns to approve them have been rejected in all 32 ballot measures conducted around the United States.

The Washington state campaign was spawned after Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a law in January legalizing same-sex marriage. Opponents have pledged to raise up to $4 million to defeat the law after getting enough signatures to put the legislation to a vote.

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