updated 11:17 am EDT, Sat April 5, 2014
Both conservative and liberal advocates speak out about week's events
Following the departure of Brendan Eich from Mozilla, an assortment of high-profile journalists and authors have taken to the Internet to slam Mozilla, Silicon Valley culture, and OKCupid for the handling of the incident. Both conservative and liberal activists are seeking a similar boycott of Mozilla products -- the Firefox browser in particular -- and some have blocked the browser from accessing sites entirely.
Mozilla's statement addresses the impossibility of placating everyone. The post announcing Eich's departure said that "equality is necessary for meaningful speech, and you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."
Gay advocacy site Box Turtle Bulletin notes the disparity in the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, behavior of Internet users, and the departure of Eich. While Eich left voluntarily, the advocacy site noted that "a time when we are demanding passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act so that companies can't just up and fire LGBT employees because they don't agree with them -- as they can now in about two-thirds of our states -- we need to think very long and hard about whether we should demand someone be removed from his job for exercising his constitutional rights as part of the cornerstone of our democracy: a free and fair election."
Conor Friedersdorf, a proponent of marriage equality, wrote in The Atlantic that "calls for his ouster were premised on the notion that all support for Proposition 8 was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by political causes he or she supports as a private citizen." Friedersdorf added that "If that attitude spreads, it will damage our society."
Daily Dish blogger Andrew Sullivan, a gay conservative but long-time advocate of marriage equality, noted that "what we're talking about is the obvious and ugly intolerance of parts of the gay movement, who have reacted to years of being subjected to social obloquy by returning the favor." Sullivan believes that the event was "unbelievably stupid for the gay rights movement," but his views have rarely aligned with the more common philosophy of the gay community.
Strongly conservative TruthRevolt has blocked Firefox from accessing its website. Users accessing the website will see a message saying in part that Eich's departure "followed a vicious smear campaign against Eich by dating website OKCupid" and that they "would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access TruthRevolt, given Mozilla's crackdown on political and religious positions held by millions of Americans."
Before his departure, Eich did apologize for the donation, which made no difference to the activists and Mozilla employees calling for his exile from the open-source foundation because he did not recant his support of the proposition. He wrote in his apology that his donation, and personal stance (which he declined to detail) wouldn't prevent him from supporting the values of the company, and he would work with "LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn't make Mozilla supportive and welcoming."
He also promised to "work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded, or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult." Reuters notes that "when Eich made his $1,000 donation in opposition to same-sex marriage, the political landscape for gay rights was different than it is today." When the bill was up for consideration, "presidential candidate Barack Obama and his Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton were five years away from embracing legalization of same-sex marriage," though both had voiced support for civil unions and changes in the laws that discriminate against gay couples.