Mozillagate grows

I’d written yesterday about the new CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, the parent organization of the Firefox Internet browser, among other things.

His name is Brendan Eich, and he proudly donated $1,000 to Proposition 8 in California, the successful Mormon-led ballot measure that repealed the right of gay couples to marry in that state in 2008.

Fortunately, last year, the Supreme Court finally put Prop 8 to bed once and for all, and marriage equality is now the law of the land again in California.

Brendan Eich, official Mozilla Foundation photo

Brendan Eich, official Mozilla Foundation photo

Back to Mozilla…  When Eich’s contribution became known last year, before his appointment as the new CEO, he penned a sad-puppy blog post about how hurt he was that anyone would consider his financial donation to gay-haters as evidence that he, you know, hates gay.

The donation does not in itself constitute evidence of animosity. Those asserting this are not providing a reasoned argument, rather they are labeling dissenters to cast them out of polite society. To such assertions, I can only respond: “no”.

Actually, he should have said “no” when asked to contribute to an incredibly bigoted and hateful cause, an effort to harm gay families, many with children, across California. But he didn’t.

Yesterday, in the face of growing anger from within Mozilla itself, Eich penned another blog post, this time about “Inclusiveness at Mozilla.” It read in part:

firefox-logoA number of Mozillians, including LGBT individuals and allies, have stepped forward to offer guidance and assistance in this. I cannot thank you enough, and I ask for your ongoing help to make Mozilla a place of equality and welcome for all. Here are my commitments, and here’s what you can expect:

  • 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.

I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. 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.

He continues:

I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion.

But Eich doesn’t believe in our most basic civil rights, and what’s worse, he’s an anti-gay activist (that’s the term the religious right would, “activist,” for anyone on our side who donated $1,000 to any gay cause).  How exactly is an anti-gay activist going to prove his commitment to our equality when at a very basic level he doesn’t believe in our equality?

The guy doesn’t get it.  He really thinks he’s done nothing wrong, that he’s done nothing to suggest that he has a problem with gay people.  Except he really has.

But okay, it’s been six years.  I’m game. Has Eich suddenly changed his mind? Is he now in favor of gay marriage? Has he made a $1,000 donation to a pro-“gay marriage” cause that we somehow all missed?

What exactly has changed between then and now?  Other than the fact that Brendan Eich really wants to keep his plum new job.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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