At a time when social issues often dominate political conversation, the social media giant Facebook has made a controversial donation to an anti-gay candidate.
With support for same-sex marriage reaching an all time high of over 50 percent in the United States, it doesn't seem like a smart move for any private company to side with those who are still pushing back. In the case of Facebook, they seem to be taking a chance. According to Salt Lake Q on Friday, disclosures filed with the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s office show a Facebook donation of $10,000 to the re-election campaign of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. The documents show that the donation was made in May of 2014.
A strong Republican, Reyes has been vocal about his opposition to same-sex marriage and has even attempted to appeal a decision made last month by a federal appeals court that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Speaking about same-sex marriage, Reyes has previously stated that he is "willing to spend whatever it takes to protect the laws and the will of the people."
The Advocate points out that a petition has been created at Change.org by Bob Henline, assistant editor of Salt Lake Q. Henline is demanding that Facebook and their CEO, Mark Zuckerberg donate an equal or greater sum to Reyes' opponent, Democrat Charles Stormont. Facebook has since issued a statement, noting their strong record on LGBT equality in the past.
"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."
The story is another page in what is becoming a long book on marriage equality in the United States. While conservatives have stood with Reyes, many others have been wondering where the "dislike" button is on this one issue.