Facebook Donation to Anti-Gay Marriage Candidate Spurs Outcry

Image: Facebook Donation to Anti-Gay Marriage Candidate Spurs Outcry Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Friday, 15 Aug 2014 06:59 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Facebook Inc. made a $10,000 donation to the re-election campaign of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who has been in the national spotlight for fighting a court ruling that would legalize gay marriage in the state.

The donation created controversy among gay rights activists, who are publicly pressuring the company to speak out against bigotry and make an equal or greater contribution to Reyes' opponent, Charles Stormont, The Huffington Post reported.

"I'm an activist within the community, and Sean Reyes has drawn my distaste for his comments about the LGBT community," QSaltLake Assistant Editor Bob Henlin, who organized a Change.org petition, told The Huffington Post.

"So I wanted to see who was funding his campaign, and when I look through the disclosures, I discovered that Facebook was his second-largest contributor. Being a Facebook user, I have always assumed that it was pro-equality and pro-diversity, so it shocked me."

Facebook defended its record on gay rights and insisted that financial support of a candidate does not translate into agreement on every issue.

"Facebook has a strong record on LGBT issues and that will not change, but we make decisions about which candidates to support based on the entire portfolio of issues important to our business, not just one," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, according to The Huffington Post.

"A contribution to a candidate does not mean that we agree with every policy or position that candidate takes. We made this donation for the same reason we've donated to Attorneys General on the opposite side of this issue — because they are committed to fostering innovation and an open Internet."

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