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Bill and Melinda Gates donate $500K in support of gay marriage

Bill Gates (Photo: AP)
Bill Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $500,000 to the campaign in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state.

The donation was announced Tuesday by Washington United for Marriage, a group campaigning for the passage of Referendum 74, which would allow the state to uphold a law passed earlier this year that legalized same-sex marriage. According to reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission, the Gates' donations to Washington United for Marriage were made last week. In July, Bill Gates also donated $100,000 to support the campaign.

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the law to legalize same-sex marriage back in February, making Washington the seventh state in the country to do so, but the conservative group Preserve Marriage Washington challenged the law by submitting a petition with more than 200,000 signatures to get it put to voters in November.

According to the AP, the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage has raised nearly $11 million. In July, another famous area techie made a significant donation to the cause when Jeff Bezos, founder of, and his wife gave $2.5 million to Washington United for Marriage. The anti-gay-marriage group, Preserve Marriage Washington, has only raised about $2 million.

A recent local poll found voters in support of legalizing same-sex marriage, 55% to 40% opposed.

Washington state is one of four states to vote on same-sex marriage this November. Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota will also consider the issue.