Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s past support of anti-same sex marriage puts Firefox maker on the hot seat

Mozilla Foundation is paddling hard to clarify its position on same sex marriages as calls from the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community for the ouster of the Firefox browser developer’s new CEO continues to grow.

Brendan Eich who was promoted to the CEO post on March 24 is facing harsh criticism for having donated to a California anti-gay marriage ballot proposition in 2008.

Online  dating site OkCupid which called on its users not to access the site through the Mozilla developed Firefox browser. About eight per cent of OKCupid matches are between same-sex couples.

Credo Action, an online network of progressive activist,  also launched an online protest demanding Eich “an unequivocal statement of support marriage equality” or failing that, resign or be fired by Mozilla. As of today Credo Action had collected more than 69,000 signatures. The organization’s goal is to reach 75,000.

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On Saturday, the browser company posted a blog which to address “a number of questions about Brendan Eich’s appointment as CEO.”

“Mozilla’s mission is to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just., the post titled Mozilla supports LGBT equality said. “This is why Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally.”

“Mozilla’s community is made up of people who have very diverse personal beliefs working on a common cause, which is a free and open internet. That is a very rare and special thing,” Mozilla said.

In 2008, Eich contributed $1,000 to ProtectMarriage.com, a group of conservative and religious political groups supporting the passage of California’s Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriages in the state. The law was later declared unconstitutional by a federal court.

Last week Eich also posted a blog on his personal site expressing “sorrow for having caused pain.”

He outlined his plan to support LGBT policies which included:

• Active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building.

• Working with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.

• My ongoing commitment to our Community Participation Guidelines, our inclusive health benefits, our anti-discrimination policies, and the spirit that underlies all of these.

• My personal commitment 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. More on this last item below.

Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla also posted a blog tiled Mozilla is Messy. He said that while open-source developers did not share the views on all issue they all believe in the importance of an open Internet.

“I worry that we do a bad job at explaining ourselves, that people are angry and don’t know who we are or where we stand,” he wrote. “And, I worry that in the time it takes to work this through and explain ourselves the things I love about Mozilla will be deeply damaged.”

 

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