The founder of Amazon.com Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie made a huge donation to the campaign to approve Ref. 74, a $2.5 million contribution that nearly doubles the amount raised by Washington United for Marriage.
In contrast, opponents of gay marriage who are urging a no vote on the measure have raised just $254,000.
“It’s a game changer for us,” campaign manager Zach Silk told the Associated Press. “It puts us in unique position to win.”
Before today the largest single donations to the yes campaign had been $100,000 checks written by Steve Balmer and Bill Gates.
Washington state lawmakers approved a bill during the winter that legalizes same-gender marriage. That law was to take effect June 7 put on hold when opponents filed a referendum and the referendum qualified for the November ballot when Preserve Washington Marriage filed more than enough valid signatures with the state.
Even though the measure is on the ballot because of the efforts of opponents of same-gender marriage, a “yes” vote would preserve the same-gender marriage lawl passed by the Legislature and a no vote would strike it down.
Here is the statement released this morning:
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Make Historic Gift of $2.5 Million
To Protect Freedom to Marry Law in Washington State
SEATTLE—July 27, 2012—Washington United for Marriage (WUM), the statewide coalition working to defend the state’s law protecting civil marriage for same-sex couples, today announced an historic, $2.5 million gift from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos. It is believed to be the largest individual gift in the country to secure or protect the freedom to marry. With the Bezos’ gift, WUM has now raised over $5 million towards its broad, statewide campaign to approve Referendum 74 in November.
“I am thrilled by Jeff and MacKenzie’s staggeringly generous donation,” said Jennifer Cast, who serves as WUM’s volunteer finance co-chair and spent over seven years in various senior positions at Amazon.com. “Their support of our efforts to approve R74 comes at an important time and will have great impact. I am deeply grateful to both of them as this donation is going to help us make history.”
“The extraordinary contribution from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos will make an enormous difference for our campaign to defend Washington’s marriage law,” said WUM’s campaign manager, Zach Silk. “While it provides an amazing base for the work ahead, we hope it spurs others to invest because we’re a long way from November and we face opponents with deep pockets who are committed to spending millions to defeat us.”