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Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Pledges $2.5 Million For Same-Sex Marriage

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are donating $2.5 million to help pass Washington State’s same-sex marriage referendum, after receiving a request from a former Amazon staffer.

The donation, the largest contribution to the cause of marriage equality to date, doubles the coffers of the campaign for Referendum 74, which affirms the measure passed by the state legislature last year. (Opponents are looking to repeal the law at the voting booth.)

Bezos made the generous donation after receiving an email on Sunday from Jennifer Cast, an early Amazon hire who is now raising funds to get the referendum passed. Telling Bezos she wanted the right “to marry the love of her life,” Cast framed the situation bluntly: “We need help from straight people. To be very frank, we need help from wealthy straight people who care about us and who want to help us win.”

Cast told The New York Times she wasn’t sure how her old billionaire boss would respond:

In the e-mail, Ms. Cast described in detail the pain she endured as a young adult and the difficulties she faced publicly acknowledging her sexuality. At the end, she pointedly asked him to donate between $100,000 and $200,000 to the referendum cause.

“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.”

We’re going to take the money it would cost to buy three Chick-fil-A classic sandwiches and order the last Hunger Games book instead. Not that they need the cash or anything.

photo by: jurvetson
By:           Dan Avery
On:           Jul 27, 2012
Tagged: , , , , , , ,

  • 26 Comments
    • Daez
      Daez

      Absolutely amazing! It is nice to see Amazon getting in on the right side of things. Not that it was a huge surprise.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 11:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dionte
      Dionte

      I feel so much better for my recent addiction where I was ordering 1-2 items a week off amazon for a couple of months. I love getting packages in the mail and they ship them so quickly lol. Thank you.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SteveC
      SteveC

      Do some research on the appalling conditions Amazon make their employees work.

      It’s hardly a very nice company.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Analog
      Analog

      In the UK, they paid no corporation tax after generating sales of £3.3bn last year.
      They’re under investigation by the UK tax authorities.
      After stealing so much, it’s nice of them to throw a few cents (relatively speaking) to a cause which reflects well on them.
      And let’s not forget the difficulties gay people have had with amazon in the recent past…

      Bravo.
      Thanks to Fagburn, as always… x

      Jul 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott
      Scott

      Amazon.com’s business practices are horrendous, and this changes nothing. Between mistreating workers, avoiding taxes (in the US as well), and undermining local economies, they don’t deserve anyone’s money.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Bedwell
      Michael Bedwell

      ELLEN DeGENERES: WHITE COURTESY PHONE!” … “ROSIE O’DONNELL: WHITE COURTESY PHONE!” … “ELTON JOHN: WHITE COURTESY PHONE! [NO, simply singing for OTHER people's money doesn't count]!” … “BARBRA STREISAND: YOUR SON ON LINE 1!” … “MADONNA: WHITE COURTESY PHONE!”

      Jul 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FlynEagle
      FlynEagle

      @SteveC: Steve, I am going to assume that you have never worked at Amazon, because I find your comment to be misinformed and a little naive. Speaking of doing a little research, take a look at the other companies manufacturing plants around North America and the fact that they do not have A/C in their plants that are located in Phoenix, TX, California, Nevada etc where in house temps can reach well north of 100 degrees F. Than take a look at Amazon Distribution centers and the fact that they all have cooling systems (even in the Northeast which is unheard of). That coupled with the fact that hourly workers receive full benefits, PTO and other perks that many in similar jobs only wish they had. Regardless whether it is Amazon, Apple, Target or Ford motor, distributions centers/manufacturing plants can be a tough environment to work, but there are some companies that take as many steps possible to make it a safe, and comfortable venue to work.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @SteveC: Those employees CHOSE those positions because in most cases they were above every other place in terms of working. If those people have it so incredibly miserable they can get jobs elsewhere. It is not like Amazon is a sweatshop in China where the workers really have no choice. Amazon operates primarily out of the United States where being asked to work more than 40 hours a week, for many, is abuse of the labor force. Funny how those same people then bitch about not being able to keep a job or make ends meet.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charli
      Charli

      Geez JUST be grateful !!! Why tear someone apart for helping?? Ughh some people just need to get a life!
      Thank you Bezo’s!!! I read yesterday where M.E. thought we were going to lose, I wonder if this will change the odds??????

      Jul 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Meowzer
      Meowzer

      Someone goes out of their way to help our community and we bash them?
      If gay marriage is going to happen in this country, we’re going to need the support of straight people sympathetic to our cause.
      This man is ponying up 2.5 million! The least we could do is be A LITTLE grateful.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jase
      Jase

      @Meowzer: It never fails with Queerty commenters. They will look for ANYTHING to bitch and moan and complain about.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh F
      Josh F

      This comes up almost every post I read. We bash and attack someone and each other. Amazon’s work conditions are no worse than any other distribution or manufacturing center. Having worked in them, I’ll tell you having just a fan when it is over 100 degrees outside is not pleasant. If they have A/C, which was posted they do, then that would be wonderful. Even if Amazon did us wrong in the past, they are supporting us now. Mistakes happen, we correct them. They are donating to help us marry those we love. That is worth a small amount of pain that may or may not have been caused in the past. Just like with Target, who made a mistake and then tried to rectify it. We should appreciate that they realize their mistakes and work towards making a better tomorrow for everyone.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChiChi Man
      ChiChi Man

      Wow. $2.5 million and people are still bitching. I love my fellow gays but sometimes we need to see the forest and stop staring at the trees.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Analog
      Analog

      @ChiChi Man: If only we were all like you, you mean?
      Yeah, you LOVE your fellow “gays”, don;t you – just not in any variety.
      Read the above facts again – the $2.5 million dollars is for a single gay issue that plays well to this massive tax evader.
      One: only those without any morals whatsoever would love to receive such a paltry sum from someone whose robbed the tax system for so much…because of course it’s for marriage equalty: the ONLY gay cause in the history of the gay rights movement.
      Let;s sell our morals and accept it uncritically – then we’ll get marriage equality and all the gay people in the world and over her suffering unimaginable prejudice and violence will immediately disappear, beacsue WE CAN GET MARRIED!!!
      Screw those who don;t care to get married, who cares…?

      Jul 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Analog
      Analog

      Gay marriage is EVERYTHING!
      Let;s take money and support from whoever gives it, no matter how reprehensible, imorral or even criminal they are.
      Gay mariage is EVERYTHING.
      Nothing else matters…

      Jul 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • F Stratford
      F Stratford

      Too many ingrates in this forum.

      For your information all US and UK businesses try to minimize their tax exposure. If they don’t, their competitors will eat their lunch. Amazon is a model company. It employs tons of otherwise unemployable people with very high retention rate compared to other distribution businesses. It enables exommerce sites for new fledgling businesses and supports entrepreneurship better than any company in the USA.

      Amazon revolutionized retail and got America and the world to love books again. It has enabled aspiring writers to self publish and not be beholden to big media.

      It never received handouts from government. As for taxes, iIt’s payroll taxes alone is bigger than the 10 of the 50 states.

      If Amazon is evil, there are no good businesses.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • F Stratford
      F Stratford

      Too many ingrates in this forum.

      For your information all US and UK businesses try to minimize their tax exposure. If they don’t, their competitors will eat their lunch. Amazon is a model company. It employs tons of otherwise unemployable people with very high retention rate compared to other distribution businesses. It enables exommerce sites for new fledgling businesses and supports entrepreneurship better than any company in the USA.

      Amazon revolutionized retail and got America and the world to love books again. It has enabled aspiring writers to self publish and not be beholden to big media.

      It never received handouts from government. As for taxes, iIt’s payroll taxes alone is bigger than the 10 of the 50 states.

      If Amazon is evil, there are no good businesses. Maybe 10.

      Jul 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James M. Martin
      James M. Martin

      I don’t know a whole lot about Mr. Bezos, but I love Amazon.com. It is my favorite corporation. I have to love it: they get all of my money. It sure is nice, now, however, to know that their profits are being recycled to a very worthy cause.

      Jul 28, 2012 at 12:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MoJo
      MoJo

      Right ON!

      Jul 28, 2012 at 1:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Analog
      Analog

      @Chuck: You’re gay, dear. Best not to use “dick” as an insult, it makes you look like a moron.
      Secondly: “Chuck” on the internet thinks I’m a “dick” [sadface]
      (i hope that’s not her real name – i wouldn’t shout about it)

      I agree with all those who lose all sense of morality when either someone who steals millions throws a few pennies to a “good cause” (ie. good publicity) and definitely when they support gay marriage. Gay marriage is the single and most important cause gay people have been fighting for since the beginning of bummery. :)

      Jul 28, 2012 at 7:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Analog
      Analog

      @F Stratford: “Too many ingrates in this forum.

      For your information all US and UK businesses try to minimize their tax exposure.”

      Is that why Amazon is being investigated by the UK tax authorities?
      Or are they investigating ALL businesses in the UK.

      Still, it’s a good argument.
      “Everyone in business steals from the taxpayer in order to stay ahead, what’s your problem!!??”

      Jul 28, 2012 at 7:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Analog
      Analog

      @Daez: “If those people have it so incredibly miserable they can get jobs elsewhere.”

      Agreed. Thank god there isn’t an economic crisis on and everyone has such a wealth of jobs to choose from, otherwise your comment would be laughably naive.

      Jul 28, 2012 at 8:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom Kennedy
      Tom Kennedy

      WAY TO GO JEFF!!!! Thanks for the HUGE help in gaining the rights we so richly deserve.

      Jul 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chuck
      Chuck

      @Analog: If you’re trying to drag me into a bitchy queen fight, it ain’t gonna work. Mock my name all you please, still doesn’t change the fact that you’re a douche who doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

      Jul 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Analog
      Analog

      @Chuck: I’m not trying to make you look silly, dear. You’re doing that all by yourself x

      Anyway, I’m as glad as you that a man whose company mistreats its workforce and avoids taxes is throwing some money at a single issue that only affects a minority of (mainly) middle class gay people.
      As I said, gay marriage is the ONLY issue we’ve been fighting for and this man is clearly a Saint for supporting “us” on this one single issue.
      Personally, I don’t care about the gay people who work for him who’ll be subject to the same mistreatment as all amazon’s workforce or the fact that most ordinary hard working gay people pay their taxes in full and are being shafted by this company along with everyone who contributes their fair share.
      No, screw all those gay people – it’s the bourgeois gay peeps who think marriage equality is The End Of Our Struggle and the single most important issue in the fight for equality that I care about.
      Way to go, Jeff!!!!!

      Jul 29, 2012 at 6:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brickman
      Brickman

      The jealous and chronically unhappy on here need to hit a gym already!!….

      Jul 29, 2012 at 9:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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