Social media giant Facebook made a $10,000 donation in May to the campaign of Sean Reyes, the virulently anti-gay Republican attorney general of Utah who's aggressively fighting marriage equality in the Beehive State. QSalt Lake reports:
Facebook, according to its "diversity" page, "values the impact that every individual can have. We are dedicated to creating an environment where people can be their authentic selves and share their diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and ideas."
When asked about the donation to the person who has arguably become the face of legal opposition to marriage equality in America, a Facebook spokesperson responded with:
"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 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."
But Reyes isn't just some ho-hum, run-of-the-mill bigot -- he's one of the highest-profile opponents of marriage equality in the country. Literally five minutes after taking office, he held a press conference and vowed to defend Utah's marriage discrimination amendment all the way up to the Supreme Court. Reyes added that the estimated $2 million cost to taxpayers is worth every penny:
"We're willing to spend whatever it takes to protect the laws and the will of the people. We'll find the best to represent the state."
In documents filed with the Supreme Court, Reyes has claimed that recognizing same-sex couples' loving marriages would present "irreparable harm to the State." Reyes so opposes the freedom to marry that he refuses to even rhetorically recognize the more than 1,300 legal same-sex marriages that now exist in the state. Instead, he sneeringly refers to them as "interim marriages." He's also gone out of his way to mess with gay and lesbian couples' adoptions.
Needless to say, the canned reasons provided by Facebook for its donation to Reyes's campaign don't wash with LGBT equality advocates. QSalt Lake assistant editor Bob Henline has launched a Change.org petition calling on the company to denounce Reyes's homophobic bigotry and make an equal or greater donation to Charles Stormont, Reyes's Democratic opponent.
Henline told the Huffington Post that he was stunned to discover Facebook's contribution, which is so large it made the company Reyes's second-biggest donor:
"Being a Facebook user, I have always assumed that it was pro-equality and pro-diversity, so it shocked me."
Indeed. Shame on Facebook for getting in bed with bigotry.