Amazon Founders Give $2.5 M For Washington United For Marriage
Pink News UK reports:
The billionaire founders of e-commerce company Amazon Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have pledged $2.5 million to the fight for equal marriage rights for gay couples in the US state of Washington.
Washington’s state legislature passed equal marriage laws earlier this year.
The legislation was due to come into effect in June, but was delayed as opponents submitted more than 200,000 signatures to force the measure through a referendum this November.
The anti-equality group Preserve Marriage Washington submitted almost 232,000 signatures for Referendum 74, which is nearly twice the number of required signatures to put the measure to a public vote.
While every state ballot on equal marriage so far undertaken in the US has seen voters block marriage rights for gay couples, the left-leaning think-tank Public Policy Polling said last month that voters in Washington may be the first to approve equal marriage. Their polling indicated 51 percent supported equal marriage, with 42 opposed.
Equal marriage proponents raised nearly $1m in June alone with major donations from Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer.
Now, Amazon’s founders have pledged to effectively double the money raised so far with a $2.5m gift, the New York Times reports.
Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, said on Thursday: “To get this from a straight, married couple sends a powerful message that marriage is seen as a fundamental question of fairness.”
The Bezoses have declined to speak publicly about the gift.
The NY Times said the Bezoses responded to an email from a gay former employee in Amazon.com’s first days asking whether they would donate $100,000 or $200,000 to the cause, similar to amounts donated by Microsoft figures. The response said: “This is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”
Donna Summer Tops Charts Ahead Of Private Farewell
The NY Daily News reports:
Donna Summer’s sudden death turned her ’70s and ’80s classics into hot stuff once again.
“The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer” soared to No. 1 on Amazon’s list of best-selling CDs, while the disco diva’s “On the Radio: Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and 2” sat at No. 6.
The musical story was the same on iTunes, where “On The Radio” climbed to No. 9 and “The Journey” hit No. 13.
Five Summer albums were listed in the iTunes Top 40, while seven selections from the Queen of Disco reached Amazon’s Top 50 following her Thursday death.
While the public eagerly snapped up her music, a private funeral for family and friends was announced Friday as the “Last Dance.”
The chart-topping singer’s family announced their low-key plans in a statement thanking fans for their support, while asking for privacy in mourning the 63-year-old singer.
“On behalf of the Sudano family, the overwhelming outreach from the media, fans and friends alike has been most truly appreciated,” said the statement from Brian Edwards, Summer’s publicist.
“The services being planned will be private to include only family and close friends. Thank you for continuing to respect the family’s privacy during their time of loss.”
The statement provided no other information about the funeral service.
Summer — who had a daughter from a previous relationship — was married to songwriter Bruce Sudano for 31 years, and the couple had two daughters.
The five-time Grammy winner died at her Florida home after a secret 10-month battle with lung cancer. Few outside her husband and kids were aware of Summer’s plight.
While fans [couldn’t] attend her funeral, they turned out on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to leave flowers and cards on Summer’s star.
Amazon Gives $25K to Gay Writers
The Advocate reports:
Amazon.com has signed on to give the organizers behind the Lambda Literary Awards $25,000 in the form of a grant to support its annual Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices.
The retreat was established in 2007 to give writers access to some of the top LGBT voices in literature. According to Lambda Literary, the retreat will take place August 6-13 at the University of California, Los Angeles.
For more, visitLambdaLiterary.org.
Music Industry Insiders Say Apple Will Blow Google Music Out Of The Water
Cult Of Apple reports:
When Google and Amazon launched their cloud music services, they did so without signing deals with the four major music labels. Apple will not be following suit, and according to music industry insiders, having all the contracts signed is what’s going to let Cupertino kick the competition’s teeth in.
When Amazon launched Cloud Locker, they took the position that they didn’t need to sign contracts with any music publishers: all they were providing was a storage locker for users to play their own music, uploaded manually from their computer. It’s a position that Google has similarly taken, largely because their own talks with the labels to launch their own iTunes-competing music store have totally stalled.
On the other hand, Apple appears to be lining up all the proper signatures for when it launches its own music-streaming service. And those signatures are going to be a big asset to Apple.
Multiple music industry insiders are now confirming that Apple’s cloud-based offering will afford a far wider array of options to users than Amazon or Google’s service can legally provide.
What those services will actually be, we won’t know until Apple officially unveils their new baby. That’s probably going to happen next month at WWDC, but in the meantime, anyone want to hazard a guess on what Apple will be able to do with all the contracts signed that Cloud Locker and Google Music can’t?
With Spotify making its way to the Americas, it was predictable that the Silicon Valley Giants would try to emulate it. For sure neither Amazon nor Google will be competition to Apple when it releases its new “baby”. Still, I’m expecting Spotify to make its arrival soon enough to make a decision.
It Gets Better: #60 And Rising On Amazon
Dan Savage comments:
It Gets Better, the book, is surging on Amazon. You can be part of the surge by going to the It Gets Better website and donating a copy of the book to your middle or high school’s library. The kick-off reading is tonight in NYC, and I’m looking forward to meeting Gabrielle Rivera, who contributed the video above to the IGBP and adapted her video into an essay for the book.
Another It Gets Better contributor—Mark King—has posted a completely impartialreview of the book:
There were moments while reading “It Gets Better,” the new book inspired by the YouTube video project to help bullied youth, when my heart leapt to my throat and hovered there. It happened a few times, quite unexpectedly, usually while in the middle of some essay from an author I’d never heard of. In an instant, I found myself fighting back tears over the pain of someone who was once convinced they would never be happy or accepted in this world. These emotional bombshells are the secret weapon in this collection of essays: moments of aching truth that pierce the sometimes distracting hype associated with the “It Gets Better” project and deliver an emotional wallop….
Interestingly, the most famous names in the book have the least impact. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Franken, Suze Orman (right), and even Ellen Degeneres are all here, but their pieces feel about as passionate as thumbing through their cue cards. Maybe fame leads to caution.
You’ll have to settle for celebrity twice-removed to tap a wellspring of real emotion. Randy Roberts Potts is the grandson of the late, ultra-homophobic televangelist Oral Roberts, and Randy shares a family secret more salacious than his own homosexuality: his uncle, Ronald David Roberts, was also gay, and he was so despondent after coming out to his famous father that he killed himself with a gunshot to his heart. [And] I still have the voice of lesbian Gabrielle Rivera ringing in my ears. Gabrielle appears on page 45 and not a moment too soon, bursting with truth and anger and passion. “It kind of doesn’t get better,” she proclaims. “…but what happens is this: You get stronger. You learn how to love yourself. You learn that other people are just crazy and caught up in their own crap.”
I’m in the book! I’m one of the many writers, artists, and activists who contributed an original essay to It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, which was released today. You can order copy at Amazon, through ItGetsBetter.org, or buy a copy today at your favorite local bookstore.