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Opposing View: Was Mozilla Flap Counter-Productive to Gay Rights?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Firefox - MozillaYesterday, we featured Kos’s column on the Brendan Eich resignation. Today we’ll let Andrew Sullivan argue the opposing view.

Thank you for the hundreds and hundreds of emails about the Mozilla- Eich affair. My readers overwhelmingly disagree with me for a host of reasons. But I have to say that this time, the more I have mulled this over, the more convinced I am that my initial response to this is absolutely the right one. And not just the right one, but a vital one to defend at this juncture in the gay rights movement.

So let me concede all of the opposing arguments that have been deployed to defend the public shaming and resignation of Brendan Eich. To recap those points: This was not the “gay left” as such, but the “techie straight left” more broadly. Sure (I’ve been to San Francisco.) He wasn’t fired; he resigned. Undisputed. Mozilla is not your usual company. Obviously not. Being CEO is different than being just a regular employee and requires another standard. Sure. It doesn’t matter because we’re all marching toward victory anyway. Well, probably. This was a function of market forces and the First Amendment. You won’t get me to disagree about that.

So why am I more convinced that what just happened still matters, and matters a lot? I think it’s because these arguments avoid the core, ugly truth of what happened. Brendan Eich was regarded as someone whose political beliefs and activities rendered him unsuitable for his job. In California, if an employer had fired an employee for these reasons, he would be breaking the law:

1102. No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.

Now Eich was not in that precise position. He resigned as CEO under duress because of his political beliefs. The letter of the law was not broken. But what about the spirit of the law?

Editor’s note: I have to say, we’re conflicted over these types of cases – on the one hand sure, no one should be “punished” for what they believe. But on the other hand, I have to wonder if the outrage on Eich’s behalf would have been the same if he had donated to a referendum to strip marriage rights from mixed-race couples. Is it still ok, on some level, to show a public bias against gays and lesbians in a way that it’s not to openly show the same bias towards other races?

In any case, we believe that LGBT rights activists should try to be the adults in the room and show the other side a civility that’s often not accorded to us.

Authored By Andrew Sullivan – See the Full Story at The Dish

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Brendan Eich Was a Victim of Market Forces

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Firefox - MozillaBrendan Eich is a tech legend, the inventor of Javascript–a programming language that powers much of what’s cool on the web. He is also a bigot, a donor to California’s successful Prop 8 effort in 2008 to enshrine hate in the state constitution by banning same-sex marriage.

Last week he was named as CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit organization best known for the Firefox browser. It is an organization in turmoil, as the mobile revolution makes desktop computers increasingly irrelevant, and with that, Mozilla’s core product.

The problem with Eich is that, well, he’s a bigot. And worse than that, he hasn’t “evolved” since 2008, like so much of America. He held steadfast to his beliefs, out-of-step with the world his product serves. So the Mozilla community erupted in anger, and after a half-assed effort to hang on, Eich resigned the position. So of course, you have people screaming about “persecution” from the usual conservative suspects to contrarians like Andrew Sullivan.

Authored By Markos “Kos” Moulitsas- See the Full Story at the Daily Kos

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USA: Mozilla CEO Resigns in Prop 8 Donation Controversy

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The new CEO of Mozilla has resigned after it was revealed that he had donated to the backers of Prop 8.

Firefox - MozillaABC news reports:

“I have decided to resign as CEO effective today, and leave Mozilla,” Eich said in a statement provided by Mozilla. “Our mission is bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader. I will be taking time before I decide what to do next.” Eich was previously chief technology officer of the company, but had been involved in Mozilla’s development starting from its conception in 1998. The previous acting CEO Jay Sullivan had left the company to pursue “new opportunities,” the company said.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I’m torn over it – on the one hand, it’s sad to see someone who is opposed to marriage equality running a progressive tech company. On the the other hand, have we just created another martyr for the religious right? He did step down, and was not fired, but such distinctions are often lost on our opponents.

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CA, USA: JavaScript Inventor Donated to Help Pass Prop 8

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Prop 8 Repeal Donor Brendan EichThe inventor of JavaScript and Chief Technology Officer of the Mozilla Corporation donated $1000 (#630) in the fight against marriage equality in California, it has emerged.

Brendan Eich gave the sum to the Proposition 8 fund, which topped $39m and, at the time, successfully revoked gay couples’ equal marriage rights by state-wide ballot. Californian law required donors to list their employers on lists that were published by the LA Times.

Mr Eich was the only person listed as an employee of the Mozilla Corporation, which runs the web browser Firefox, to donate against marriage equality, with three other employees giving a total of $1,350 in favour of equal marriage rights.

Full Story from Pink News

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