In February, the Washington State legislature passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. That bill had the backing of the Democratic Governor, Christine Gregoire.
But opponents of same sex marriage garnered enough signatures to put it on the ballot in November, and now the people of Washington will decide the fate of marriage equality in their state. And today, we learn that proponents of same-sex marriage in Washington will have a substantially larger amount of cash at their disposal, thanks to Jeff Bezos.
Yes, that Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder and his wife has officially pledged $2.5 million to support same-sex marriage in Washington – as voters will decide its fate via Referendum 74 in November.
According to the New York Times, this $2.5 million donation not only doubles the cash flow of same-sex marriage activists in the state, but also makes Bezos and his wife MacKenzie one of the biggest monetary supporters of marriage equality in the whole country.
Bezos isn’t the only high-profile tech head to give money to this Referendum campaign, but he is the most generous. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer each gave $100,000.
Here’s exactly what the voters in Washington will be deciding on in November:
This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.
The bill that sparked the Referendum, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239, also converts all current “domestic partnerships” into marriages after 2014 – except for seniors.
The group that snagged the signatures and prompted the Referendum calls themselves Preserve Marriage Washington, who says,
For thousands of years, marriage between one man and one woman has proven to be the cornerstone of our society. Thirty-two other states have already voted to preserve marriage—November 6 is our opportunity to do the same. Since same-sex couples already enjoy all the benefits of marriage in Washington—and same-sex marriage would grant no new rights whatsoever—it’s clear that the other side’s intent in this battle is to reinvent the family and make marriage a genderless institution.
Apparently, Mr. Bezos disagrees.