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Same-sex marriage campaign gets $2.5 million boost

OLYMPIA -- Supporters of a ballot measure to ratify same-sex marriage in Washington state received $2.5 million from the founder of, the campaign announced today.

Washington United for Marriage, which is pushing Referendum 74 on the Nov. 6 ballot, announced  the contribution from Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos this morning. A spokesman said it was the largest single donation to a campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.

It also more than doubles the campaign's total contributions, to about $4.8 million and shows continuing support from the state's high-tech executives. The campaign has also received contributions of $100,000 each from Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Preserve Marriage Washington, the group that gathered signatures to put the measure on the ballot and is urging a no vote to block same sex-marriage, has reported about $250,000 in contributions.

The Washington Legislature passed a bill legalizing marriage between same-sex couples early this year and it was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, who had announced her support for the change before the session started. But opponents quickly filed a referendum and gathered the needed signatures, placing the law on hold.

Six states -- Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont -- as well as Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage, but no state has approved it through a ballot measure. Washington, Maryland and Maine have same-sex marriage proposals on statewide ballots this fall.

For the top donors to Washington United for Marriage and Preserve Marriage Washington campaigns, click here to go inside the blog.

Top donors to Washington United for Marriage, supporting Ref. 74

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, $2.5 million
Steve Ballmer, $100,000
William Gates, $100,000
Freedom to Marry Action Inc., New York, $100,000
SEIU Wash. State Council, $100,000
Joe Curiel and Tony Raugust, $50,000
Joel Spiegel and Karen Van Dusen, $50,000
Lawrence Stone, $50,000
Jennifer Cast, $25,000
Laurene Powell Jobs, $25,000
Bradford L. Smith, $25,000
Benjamin Waldman, $25,000

Top donors to Preserve Marriage Washington, opposing Ref. 74

Thomas Matthews, $50,000
Thomas and Mary Matthews, $20,000
National Organization for Marriage, Washington, D.C. $10,000
Knights of Columbus Council 676, $5,000
George Reese, $5,000
Larry Sundquist, $5,000
Curtiss Wikstrom, $2,500
Brett Baker, $1,500
Harbor Calvary Chapel, $1,375

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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