CEO Steve Ballmer and company co-founder Bill Gates donated $100,000 each on Friday to support Washington state's new gay marriage law, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The law, earlier this year, is being , which asks voters whether they would like to uphold the law. Ballmer's and Gates' donations were made to Washington United for Marriage, one of the campaigns asking voters to approve the referendum. (A "yes" vote upholds the law; a "no" vote repeals it.) Mercer Island's State Senator Steve Litzow (R-41) earlier this year in Olympia.
In addition to Ballmer and Gates, Scafco Corp. President Lawrence Stone contributed $50,000 and Microsoft General Counsel Brad L. Smith gave $25,000 on the same day, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Microsoft , who does not typically give under his own name, directed $10,000 donated to Washington United for Marriage under Vulcan Inc. on June 18.
According to the AP, the group had raised nearly $1.5 million before the two donations were made.
"It's going to make a tremendous difference," Zach Silk of Washington United for Marriage told the AP. "It's very important for us to have that broad support from business leaders and companies themselves."
Microsoft by joining other Washington businesses in a letter to legislators last January. Several other prominent Northwest-based companies, including Starbucks and Nike, have also voiced their support for the law, according to the AP.