Mozilla Corporation, the open source tech company responsible for the popular Firefox web browser, has come under intense attack from homosexual activists over the election of its new CEO Brendan Eich, after it was revealed that in 2008 Eich supported California's Proposition 8, the voter-passed state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the amendment last year.
The campaign for the removal of Eich, who helped launch Mozilla in the late 1990s and who was announced as its new CEO in March, was organized by a group of Mozilla employees and software developers, who threatened to boycott the company and its open-source foundation if Eich is allowed to stay. According to The Guardian newspaper, after homosexual activists revealed that Eich had donated $1,000 to the Prop 8 initiative nearly six years ago, Eich took to his personal blog to insist that he was committed “to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla,” and offered a plan for how that will be especially emphasized under his leadership.
“I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything,” Eich wrote. “I can only ask for your support to have the time to 'show, not tell,' and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.”
Such contrition left some gay activists associated with the company unmoved. Among them, according to The Guardian, was Hampton Catlin, a software developer who founded the tech firm Rarebit with his “husband” Michael Lintorn Catlin.
“As a gay couple who were unable to get married in California until recently, we 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,” said Hampton Catlin. He added that while not everyone at Mozilla was a “hateful” supporter of traditional marriage, the selection of Eich as CEO was troubling for homosexuals like himself. “Their ideas, beliefs, philosophies, and personalities drive organizations,” Catlin said. “And, when it’s an organization that I’m personally investing in, it’s even more important.”
However, not all gay employees and developers with the company reacted with such animosity toward opposing viewpoints. “Christie Koehler, an employee of Mozilla who identifies herself as queer … said she was disappointed when she learned about the campaign donation, but accepted that sometimes people have to work with people who have contradictory beliefs to their own,” reported The Guardian.
In her own blog post, Koehler wrote that it is important “to figure out when it’s important to walk away from interacting with a person or community because of a misalignment in beliefs, and when you need to set aside the disagreement and commit to working together in service of the shared goal.”
Koehler noted that she had never experienced discriminatory behavior from Eich, and while she was “personally disappointed about Brendan’s donation … aside from how it affected me emotionally, I have nothing to indicate that it’s materially hurt my work within the Mozilla community or as a Mozilla employee.”
Mozilla responded to the conflict with a statement on its website that re-enforced the company's commitment to “honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community, across all the project’s activities.”
As one example of that commitment Mozilla cited its health benefit policies, noting that it “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.”
The company emphasized that “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.”
The company's stated commitment to diversity was not enough for at least one pro-homosexual website. Web users logging on to the dating site OKCupid.com with Mozilla's Firefox browser are momentarily blocked from going further into the site with the announcement: “Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience. Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.”
After being subjected to a short epistle on “tolerance” and why OkCupid is joining the crusade against Eich, Firefox users are begrudgingly told that “if you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site. However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid” — with Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari offered as options.
Traditional marriage supporters like Brendan Eich, “who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration,” emphasized OKCupid, “are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.”
Jeff Johnston, an issues analyst at Focus on the Family, pointed out that such reactions contradict the insistence of homosexual activists that they are all about inclusion and tolerance. “It’s the same type of attack that’s been used by gay-identified activists over the past ten years,” explained Johnston, “but it’s getting more aggressive. You must not only believe what they tell you about homosexuality and marriage, you have to renounce any past support of marriage.”
He warned that going forward those who embrace traditional values will be increasingly targeted. “For Christians, it’s not enough anymore just to believe the truth about God’s design for marriage and that it’s a permanent, faithful monogamous relationship,” he said. Nor is it sufficient to merely “speak lovingly about this issue,” he added. “We must be courageous, too, in the face of opposition. And we much teach our children how to stand in the face of opposition.”