Amazon got booted from Seattle Pride sponsorship for donating to anti-LGBTQ lawmakers

An Amazon building
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Seattle Pride has cut ties with Amazon because of the retail corporation’s donations to anti-LGBTQ politicians.

“We simply cannot partner with any organization actively harming our community through the support of discriminatory laws and politics,” Seattle Pride said in a statement.

Related: Former employee sues Amazon for allegedly firing him to cover up anti-gay harassment

Seattle Pride Executive Director Krystal Marx said that the decision came after Amazon, which is based in Seattle, donated over $450,000 to members of Congress who voted against the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal civil rights legislation. The bill passed the House last year but has stalled in the Senate, even though it would ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination at the federal level.

The organization also noted that Amazon gave $11,000 to Washington state legislators who sponsored anti-LGBTQ bills just this year.

Amazon offered a $100,000 sponsorship for Seattle Pride, according to Marx, but they also wanted naming rights in return. That is, they wanted the city’s Pride festivities to be officially referred to as “Seattle Pride Parade Presented by Amazon.”

Marx said that it felt like Amazon was trying to buy the event itself.

“It was important for us to really take a hard look at how do these values align with us,” she said. “This Pride Parade is for our community to celebrate, to remember Stonewall in 1969, to continue the fight for our rights, and we don’t feel it was possible to accept this money.”

Last, Seattle Pride said that the AmazonSmile program that customers can use to generate donations for charities, includes over 40 anti-LGBTQ organizations. Amazon has said that the company doesn’t necessarily endorse charities that receive money through its AmazonSmile program.

“It’s critical Amazon and other corporate partners of Seattle Pride – and for other Pride events nationally – do not allow their platforms to be used by organizations which are actively working against the rights of LGBTQIA+ people,” Seattle Pride said in its statement.

An Amazon spokesperson told KING 5 News that their donations to politicians are not an endorsement of every policy that lawmaker supports and that they disagree with many policies supported by politicians they donate to.

“This includes legislation that discriminates or encourages discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community,” they said.

“Amazon has long supported Seattle Pride because we believe that the rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected. We stand together with the LGBTQ+ community, were early and strong supporters of marriage equality, and are working at the U.S. federal and state level on legislation, including supporting passage of the Equality Act.”

“We also work hard to offer an inclusive environment for employees and for five consecutive years we’ve received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index,” the spokesperson noted.

Seattle Pride said that they are hoping donations will make up for the lost sponsorship.

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