Ted S. Warren / AP file
Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos
While one American executive made headlines for making anti-gay remarks, another donated $2.5 million to help pass gay marriage in his state.
Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon.com in Seattle nearly two decades ago, will make the multimillion-dollar donation to Washington United for Marriage, which is fighting to pass Referendum 74, a ballot initiative that would legalize a state proposal to allow same-sex marriage.
Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie, were inspired to make the enormous donation by a former Amazon.com employee who emailed the executive regarding the importance of the issue to her, her partner, and their children, The New York Times reported.
“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.”
She hit “send” and waited.
Two days later, on Tuesday, she received a reply while in a car with her family. Recalling that moment, she said she had to read it out loud twice to make sure she had read it right.
“Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”
In making such a donation, Bezos is in some ways taking a risk. He's now shared with his millions of customers his personal and political views. But, it is a view held by more and more Americans despite the struggle to legalize gay marriage at the state level.
Meanwhile, the president of Chick-fil-A made public his view that gay marriage might bring God's wrath down upon this country, and his chain of fast-food restaurants is "guilty as charged" in backing more traditional definitions of marriage. His declaration resulted in the loss of a business partnership with the Jim Henson company, confusion among franchise owners, and customer acts of both support and protest for the chicken sandwich chain.