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Friday, July 27, 2012

Jeff Bezos Dumps $2.5 Million into WA State's Marriage Equality Campaign

Posted by on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 5:31 AM

WOW.

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com, and his wife, MacKenzie, have agreed to donate $2.5 million to help pass a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington State, instantly becoming among the largest financial backers of gay marriage rights in the country.... Mr. Bezos was approached via e-mail on Sunday by Jennifer Cast, one of Amazon’s earliest employees and a lesbian mother of four children who is now a fund-raising chairwoman of the pro-referendum effort. In her e-mail, sent Sunday evening, Ms. Cast, 50, implored Mr. Bezos to understand the importance of the issue to her and her longtime partner... 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.”

First things first: a HUGE thank you to Jeff and MacKenzie—WOW—and a huge thank you to Jennifer Cast for making the ask.

Second things second: the haters are already boycotting Oreos, JCPenneys, Starbucks, Home Depot, Google, Microscoft, Ford, Pepsi, Target, General Mills, and I can't remember who else. And now they gotta boycott Amazon too. Might as well get it over with, haters, and get your bigoted off the grid and just start livin' off the land already.

 

Comments (58) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Yayyyy!
Posted by cgd on July 27, 2012 at 5:39 AM · Report this
LogopolisMike 2
This crazy "hey faggot" guy I used to read growing up always said the best things gays could do was make themselves visible in order to prove we exist, which would make our civil rights struggles easier. Guess he was right.
Posted by LogopolisMike http://logopolis.typepad.com on July 27, 2012 at 5:43 AM · Report this
LogopolisMike 3
(Also, the mormon.org ad is displaying beneath this post for me which is a beautiful juxtaposition when I consider CA Prop 8 funding.)
Posted by LogopolisMike http://logopolis.typepad.com on July 27, 2012 at 5:45 AM · Report this
watchout5 4
I support the boycott of Amazon.com because they're like the Walmart of the internet. This stance makes me feel less bad for using the site as long as I did and to buy a wallet. >.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on July 27, 2012 at 5:53 AM · Report this
5
Gonna be a long day for Paul Constant.
Posted by ratcityreprobate on July 27, 2012 at 5:53 AM · Report this
smajor82 6
@4: Is there evidence that Amazon depresses the wages of its employees, restricts promotion of female employees, and / or aggressively pursues ant-union policies? Or do they just efficiently deliver a service and therefore make things less expensive? If it's just the latter, then you probably want to boycott books, because those printing presses took the jobs of a lot of people who used to copy things by hand.
Posted by smajor82 on July 27, 2012 at 6:37 AM · Report this
Kinison 7
We need Apple to toss some money into this, so they can boycott them and force the haters into using Linux, which will only frustrate their ability to use a computer and as such, silence them online.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on July 27, 2012 at 6:40 AM · Report this
8
I skimmed the title and was all set to be mad--is it sad that I see large sums of money and marriage something-or-another in the same sentence and assume it's some crazy conservative corporation?

But seriously, go Amazon.
Posted by alb on July 27, 2012 at 6:41 AM · Report this
9
I guess Paul Constant has to oppose marriage equality now. Looking forward to seeing his "reasoning" for why this proves, yet again, that Amazon is evil.
Posted by also on July 27, 2012 at 6:52 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 10
I think your last sentence is missing the word "ass." At least, that's the word I think that's missing.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 27, 2012 at 6:52 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 11
@ 9, there is a difference between political and charitable giving. Just keep that in mind...
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 27, 2012 at 6:53 AM · Report this
12
This is all kinds of awesome. Haters gonna hate, but Do-Gooders gonna do good.
Posted by The fag on July 27, 2012 at 6:58 AM · Report this
puppydogtails 13
I guess big money in politics is cool after all...
Posted by puppydogtails on July 27, 2012 at 7:08 AM · Report this
14
They don't have to live off the land. They can eat Chick-Fil-A.
Posted by MarkS10517 on July 27, 2012 at 7:11 AM · Report this
15
@5, nice.
Posted by gloomy gus on July 27, 2012 at 7:21 AM · Report this
16
Hurray for Bezos. But he has also dumped a lot of money into the odious charter school initiative, which really needs to be defeated.
Posted by He's still a slimy little fucker on July 27, 2012 at 7:31 AM · Report this
17
I wonder if this is going to start a donation war among our local billionaires. Each trying to out-do the other creating a giant pool of money that could counter anything the right wing religious types can raise. Someone needs to call up Costco and get the name of the person that ran their liquor initiative. Finally, those who support gay marriage will have the opportunity to have an even playing field in the media game that is politics. This is pretty awesome.
Posted by sisyphusgal on July 27, 2012 at 7:38 AM · Report this
18
@6 - Here's an article about working conditions in an Amazon warehouse as of Sept 2011: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,239…

There's a later article about them offering education benefits for their lowest wage workers. Maybe when people pay attention and start voting with their purchasing dollars, it makes a difference?

http://www.geekwire.com/2012/amazoncom-m…

I'm sure working in their warehouse for three years is a lot better than joining the military to get an education paid for.
Posted by Barbara on July 27, 2012 at 7:43 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 19
Dom--you should reach out to other large companies with Washington state presences. Let's see who else follows through.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on July 27, 2012 at 7:44 AM · Report this
20
They still treat their employees like trash. Oh, wait. Most of them are heterosexual. They don't matter to the Stranger.
Posted by Stranger'sWorstNightmare on July 27, 2012 at 7:47 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 21
Legit. Thanks Jeff.
Posted by Westlake, son! on July 27, 2012 at 7:49 AM · Report this
22
All kinds of awesome on Amazon for donating to the cause of equality - any two human beings being able to marry each other.
Posted by Barbara on July 27, 2012 at 7:50 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 23
Wow! Thanks Jeff and MacKenzie! All the haters have is Chick fil hate.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 27, 2012 at 7:51 AM · Report this
24
Amazing. Wow. From a humble "ask" to holy crap that's a metric shitload of money. Good on them.
Posted by Bean on July 27, 2012 at 7:56 AM · Report this
25
@8: Apple donated to the No On 8 campaign in California a few years ago, so if the haters are really committed, they should already be boycotting Apple.
Posted by Zeusifer on July 27, 2012 at 8:03 AM · Report this
26
That's wonderful news! Good for the Bezoseses...es? (And it gets me off the hook, too. Now I don't have to feel so guilty every time I break my Amazon boycott to buy super cheap stuff.)
Posted by mitten on July 27, 2012 at 8:18 AM · Report this
27
Typo: Microscoft
Posted by Ben on July 27, 2012 at 8:21 AM · Report this
onion 28
THANKS Jeff and MacKenzie!
Super awesome!
Posted by onion on July 27, 2012 at 8:26 AM · Report this
Asparagus! 29
@20

Legit lol. u mad bro?
Posted by Asparagus! on July 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM · Report this
Kris 30
Did not see this coming. Amazing!
Posted by Kris on July 27, 2012 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 31
This is great, but the battle is not won on money. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on July 27, 2012 at 9:35 AM · Report this
32
NYT just bumped it to their front page online. Woo hoo!
Posted by gloomy gus on July 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM · Report this
More, I Say! 33
@31, you're right!! What we need is a CHILD ARMY.
Posted by More, I Say! on July 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM · Report this
34
This is completely unexpected surprise because Amazon has been such a poor corporate citizen for it's entire existence. This doesn't make up for the poor treatment of its employees over the years, or it's lack of support for community organizations, but it does improve my low opinion of Bezos.
Posted by Smartypants on July 27, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Fortunate 35
"This is great, but the battle is not won on money."

Really? Tell it to the Tobacco industry then. Before the vote on increasing the cigarette tax in CA about 3/4 of the population of the state was in favor. After the cigarette companies dumped $400,000,000 into a campaign add to defeat the initiative, and they managed to win.

Money makes all the difference. Which is why anyone who wants Obama to win this November should be very concerned, and should be reaching for their wallets. With the amount of money being thrown at Romney by millionaires and large corporate donors Obama's chances of winning are becoming narrower and narrower. He needs money if he hopes to stand a chance.

This amount of money to the marriage equality side is literally a game changer.
Posted by Fortunate on July 27, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this
36
It's striking how many of these comments conflate Bezos with Amazon, a publicly traded company.
Posted by Distinguish Between Corporations And People, My Friend on July 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Paul Constant 37
@5, @9, and others: This is a great thing that the Bezoses have done, and I thank them for it. I also appreciate the fact that Amazon has donated $5000 for the Stranger's Literature Genius Award for two years running now, and that they donate to other literary organizations.

But it doesn't change the fact that Bezos also put a ton of money into the fight against the state income tax. It doesn't change the fact that, as @Smartypants says right above me, Amazon is not a very good corporate citizen.

If you honestly think I'm going to be upset because Jeff Bezos donated money to a cause I believe in and support passionately, your understanding of the world is way too simplistic. It's not all black hats and white hats. Or maybe I can put it in language you'll understand: This is a very good thing. He does good things. He does bad things. I'd like for him to not do the bad things, or at least do fewer bad things.
Posted by Paul Constant http://https://twitter.com/paulconstant on July 27, 2012 at 10:32 AM · Report this
38
Jeff Bezos has done a good thing. Kudos.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on July 27, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 39
@37, Paul, why do you keep bursting their bubble, pointing out that nothing in this life is black & white? Do you understand the confusion and consternation you cause by demonstrating the complexity behind human behavior? What will these poor folks do if they can't snark complex issues with a single sentence?

I, for one, welcome our insect overlords, and look forward to rounding up other humans to slave in their underground sugar mines. Yay No Thinking! Vote Romney!
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on July 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 40
So if smart, technologically-capable, highly-educated Ds keep making boatloads of money and then supporting progressive causes (Gates, Soros, etc) while rich Rs spend only on themselves and preserving their wealth, how does the public perception of Ds and Rs change over a generation? They get the sub-literate haters and we get the up-and-coming.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on July 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
debug 41
@37 Confucius say: Those who cannot take a joke soon become one.
Posted by debug on July 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
42
@37 your ad hominem insult confirms my opinion of you.
Posted by ratcityreprobate on July 27, 2012 at 1:25 PM · Report this
43
@7 Apple users should note they have been using Unix since 2002.....
Posted by JJinAus on July 27, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this
44
As a Barnes & Noble employee who fears for the future of my company, I hate the degree to which Amazon has sought to dominate every aspect of the book industry and appreciate Paul Constant's drawing attention to their labor and business practices. But as a lesbian, I applaud and thank Jeff Bezos for his support, and I hope that more large corporations will follow suit.
Posted by Snoopy The Cat on July 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 45
Hooray!
Posted by Canadian Nurse on July 27, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
joeshmo 46
Stop criticizing and just thank them, people. Shit.

Bezos may have just completely altered your life for the better in one fell swoop of his check-signing pen. I get that social accountability is important, but there's a time and a place. I don't think the place is on the internet, and I definitely don't think the time is right after a wealthy and prominent businessman publicly gave so many families his support. When the popular guy stuck up to the bullies for you, did you yell at him for never saying "hi" in the halls?

Damn Seattle... why do we always have to find the negative?!
Posted by joeshmo on July 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM · Report this
joeshmo 47
Stop criticizing and just thank them, people. Shit.

Bezos may have just completely altered your life for the better in one fell swoop of his check-signing pen. I get that social accountability is important, but there's a time and a place. I don't think the place is on the internet, and I definitely don't think the time is right after a wealthy and prominent businessman publicly gave so many families his support. When the popular guy stuck up to the bullies for you, did you yell at him for never saying "hi" in the halls?

Damn Seattle... why do we always have to find the negative?!
Posted by joeshmo on July 28, 2012 at 12:49 AM · Report this
48
If only he had sank that into a local stadium, am I right?

But seriously, woot!
Posted by madcap on July 28, 2012 at 12:57 AM · Report this
49
Dear JC Penny,

Thank you for supporting our cause. But I hope you realize why we're still not going to wear your clothes.

Thank you,
The Gays
Posted by Nhaven1 on July 28, 2012 at 6:55 AM · Report this
50
@44 -- there was a time, pre-Amazon, when Barnes and Noble was a dominant force in bookselling, by virtue of what it would order (or not) for its stores. They lost that power when they didn't keep up with Amazon. That is not Amazon's fault. My favorite independent bookstore managed to survive its last two rent increases because it started selling used titles on Amazon. The market is changing, and it is up to B&N to adapt.
Posted by Cornellhockeyfan on July 28, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
51
@50 -- I'm aware of the changing market, and B&N has done its best to adapt. The Nook Tablet has gotten better reviews than the Kindle Fire in many publications, and unlike Borders, we operate our own web store (although I'll be the first to admit that BN.com has room for improvement). I'm also aware that B&N was the bad guy back in the day when the independent bookstores lost ground and largely faded away. The major problem I have with Amazon is their attempts to gain a monopoly of the entire book industry by getting into the publishing end of things and putting authors in a position where their works can only be sold through Amazon.

And I take issue with the customers who come into our store and browse and take up our booksellers' time asking for information and recommendations and receiving personal service, and then thank us for our time and go home and buy the books we showed them for cheaper on Amazon (which has cheaper operating costs precisely because they don't provide you with a place to browse and booksellers to answer your questions). They, of course, have the right to shop for the best price and spend their money where they wish. And there will be other people who are just as content to browse on their computer and read customer reviews and don't care about holding the book in their hand or asking a bookseller their questions. But anyone who does appreciate the ability to spend the afternoon browsing their local brick-and-mortar bookstore and receiving personal service from the booksellers, but who then takes that information and goes home and buys from Amazon instead, should not complain when a future time comes where there's no more bookstore to browse and no more booksellers to ask for help.

End of rant. We now return to our regularly-scheduled discussion of Jeff Bezos magnanimous gesture toward the GLBT community, which I appreciate regardless.
More...
Posted by Snoopy The Cat on July 28, 2012 at 1:02 PM · Report this
52
@46. I agree... thank you Mr and Mrs. Bezos!

Ps.. We could use some big money over in Maine as well...
Posted by SmallTownMainer on July 28, 2012 at 6:16 PM · Report this
53
they also need to give up their iThingies. And just because Dell hasn't donated to marriage equality doesn't mean they won't/wouldn't. I think we should help out all of our conservative friends by a) assembling a list of all places that even have a wiff of support for gay marriage and b) enjoying all those products/services lavishly while in their company.
Posted by MinnySota on July 29, 2012 at 4:18 PM · Report this
shurenka 54
@47 On the contrary, I think it's important to not be blindsided by one nice gesture. With Amazon making such a great and important contribution, it's also a good chance to look at... ways in which Amazon maybe isn't living up to the idea of equality. That being, they are monopolizing all kinds of businesses but especially (unfortunately) publishing and book sales.

I love Amazon, I even have the "Prime" membership, and I frequently buy shit from there that I'm too lazy to hunt down in a store. It's great I can get so many eclectic things. But, as @50 pointed out, they are turning into a monopoly. They are trying to strongarm authors into only selling through them. And that... is not a good sign for the future.
Posted by shurenka on July 30, 2012 at 3:28 AM · Report this
smajor82 55
@18 - Thanks, wasn't aware.
Posted by smajor82 on July 30, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
mwdean 56
In other news, a Mississippi church refused to marry a black couple, and Baptist leaders have been all over them for it.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/southern-baptis…

From the article:

"'Our entire country, and especially here in Mississippi, has been on a long journey for right racial relationships,' said Mississippi Baptist Convention Board executive director Jim Futral in a statement."

Doesn't Futral sound progressive. Whatcha wanna bet the guy would do a total 180 if the topic was gay marriage?
Posted by mwdean on July 31, 2012 at 4:18 AM · Report this
57
Because tossing garbage bags full of cash at your problems is the best way to solve them... grow up, Amazon just made a killer marketing move, as evidenced by this comment thread.
Posted by bananaphone on July 31, 2012 at 7:10 AM · Report this
58
@51. I feel for the "brick and mortar" merchants for all the reasons you just cited. If Amazon can get their same day delivery service up and running, it's going to be very difficult for others to compete, although that would mean that they'd most likely lose their no sales tax advantage since they'd have to have a physical presence in the states where they can offer same day delivery (or at least an adjoining one)

I worked in the airline industry when Southwest was marching across the continent and dominating most markets they entered. People shopped on price, and expected the legacy carriers to offer all the services at the same fare as SW. Eventually the legacy carriers had no choice but to unbundle their product (or "dumb down"....you choose) so now we have exactly the airline industry we've indicated we're willing to pay for. I fear the same thing will happen with retail, and the same complaints will be hears.

I wish you the best of luck.
Posted by Global Traveler on August 4, 2012 at 9:45 PM · Report this

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