Firefox fans angered by anti-gay donation; Mozilla responds

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Mozilla chief technology executive Brendan Eich was announced on Tuesday as the new CEO of open source technology firm Mozilla—producer of the popular Firefox internet browser and catalog of products, Firefox Marketplace.

Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich

The company skipped corporate expertise to pick an expert coder who co-founded the company and invented JavaScript. But his financial donation towards opposition of marriage equality has caused an uproar among LGBT developers and fans of Mozilla products.

In 2008, Eich donated $1,000 towards the voter approval of Proposition 8—a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California. He admitted the action in an Apr. 5, 2012 blog. Eich argued that the donation was in keeping with a spirit of “diversity,” since not all Mozilla workers supported marriage equality. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ballot initiative was unconstitutional.

As soon as Eich’s appointment was announced several developers issued boycotts of the company.

Wikipedia Mobile creator and rarebit CEO Hampton Catlin said in his blog that he’s pulling the plug on his relationship with Mozilla.

“We were shocked to read that Brendan Eich has been appointed Mozilla CEO,” said Catlin. “As a gay couple who were unable to get married in California until recently, [my husband and I] morally cannot support a Foundation that would not only leave someone with hateful views in power, but will give them a promotion and put them in charge of the entire organization.”

Catlin said that it is unconscionable to keep rarebit in Mozilla’s circle.

“By the very bones in our body, we cannot dare use our creativity, experience, knowledge, and passion to further the career of a man who has to this day not apologized for his support. I can’t spend hours and days and years polishing, building, and upgrading applications that make him richer than he is,” said Catlin.

It has already been argued that Mozilla has many LGBT advocates within its ranks and that Eich is just one out of many. Catlin responded.

“I certainly recognize that there are great people at Mozilla. And that lots of people there want the org to be open and supportive. However, the board could have chosen any of those other, awesome people at Mozilla to be CEO. Out of all the possible candidates they could have chosen, they chose Brendan Eich. CEO’s are extremely important to an organization. Their ideas, beliefs, philosophies, and personalities drive organizations. And, when it’s an organization that I’m personally investing in, it’s even more important.”

In a public relations tailspin because of Eich’s donation, Mozilla responded with a Statement on Diversity.

“Mozilla has always been deeply committed to honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community, across all the project’s activities,” said Mozilla. “One concrete example of this is in our health benefit policies. Mozilla provides the same level of benefits and advantages to domestic partners as we do to married couples across the United States, even in states where it is not mandated. For those who choose life insurance, voluntary spouse coverage extends to domestic partners, including same-sex couples.”

Mozilla is stressing diversity of thought, among other diversities, in its company culture.

“With thousands of people spanning many countries and cultures, diversity is core to who we are, and we’re united in our mission to keep the Web open and accessible for everyone.”

Gerald Farinas

About Gerald Farinas

An Edgewater Beach resident, Gerry is managing editor and interim editor-in-chief of Chicago Phoenix. He is concurrently an Evanston-based social services professional and media consultant. For more info: www.geraldfarinas.com.

There are 2 comments

  1. Noitidart

    From a neutral perspective, what if the opposite happened: If Eich made a donation that supported LGBT should non-LGBT supporters boycott?

    Just a thought.

    I’m a Firefox fan and a whatever opinions are person has is not going to make me stray from supporting Firefox. Firefox is truly open source and respects peoples privacy and opinions unlike Google. Everything I learned today is from Firefox’s open source code.

  2. AhContraire

    B4 boycotting or resigning, why not have a public dialog on the medical safety of Sodomy, gay and straight, and ask these two simple medical questions?

    That is, Doesn’t the medical community recommend that you, “Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom.”?

    Yet, now there are some in the medical community that now say it’s OK to “Sleep with the waste that gets flushed down in the toilet?” and that it’s possible to live a perfectly normal life.

    Twitter Handle: AhContraire

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