Bill and Melinda Gates
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have been praised for donating $500,000 towards efforts to legalise same-sex marriage in the state of Washington.
The donation was made to Washington United for Marriage (WUM), a broad coalition of organisations working to approve Referendum 74, which will allow voters to have their say on same-sex marriage in the state on November 6.
This was the Gates’ second contribution to the cause, having previously donated $100,000 in June.
A family spokesperson said that the couple made the donation “because they support marriage equality and believe the law is good for Washington state”.
The donation came shortly after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also contributed $250,000 to WUM.
“These amazing gifts, from two visionary leaders, demonstrate their confidence in our campaign which families across Washington state are counting on us to win,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk.
“They join tens of thousands of individual donors and their call to action, coming as it does in these final days, is an inspiration to every supporter of the freedom to marry.”
Same-sex marriage was made legal by Washington’s state legislature in February but opponents garnered sufficient signatures to force the issue to be decided on by voters in the referendum. If approved, same-sex marriage rights will come into effect in early December.