Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down Following Controversy Over Support Of Gay Marriage Ban

The newly appointed chief came under fire for a $1,000 donation made in 2008 supporting a gay marriage ban.

Following a broad backlash over his support of California's gay marriage ban in 2008, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich has stepped down.

Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit best known for its Firefox browser, announced Eich's resignation in a blog post Thursday afternoon, apologizing to users for its slow response. "We’re sorry. We must do better," she said.

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. 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.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

Known as the father of the programing language JavaScript, Eich donated $1,000 in 2008 to support Proposition 8, a California constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage. News of his contribution first came to light in 2012, but the controversy resurfaced when Eich, who previously served as CTO at Mozilla, was named to the top post last month. Following the appointment, Mozilla employees began publicly asking him to step down. Adding to that, dating site OKCupid on Monday published a letter on its website urging users on Firefox to switch browsers.

"What’s next for Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed," Baker said. "We want to be open about where we are in deciding the future of the organization and will have more information next week. However, our mission will always be to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive, and more just: that’s what it means to protect the open Web."

[Image: Flickr user Arturo Martinez]

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7 Comments

  • I find it really odd that folks are up in arms over Mr Eich's PERSONAL support for a social issue (traditional marriage) he believes in, which has NOTHING to do with his qualifications for his job.

    Do we not constantly hear that PERSONAL beliefs and/or failings don't impact PROFESSIONAL qualifications? There are many examples, but Bill Clinton comes to mind as Exhibit A.

    Have we become so narrow-minded that we can ONLY talk with, work for & associate with people who think like we do? Really?

    BTW - Mr Eich was on the side of the MAJORITY of CA voters on this issue. It isn't like the idea of the 'traditional family' is such a fringe concept that the guy should be tarred, feather and hung in the public square.

    We grow & evolve society by engaging in RESPECTFUL debate, discussing issues, embracing the larger truth and LISTENING. Sometimes we need to agree to disagree. But always we should respect the rights of individuals to have their positions and express them.

  • "...our mission will always be to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive, and more just: that’s what it means to protect the open Web. Unless you're conservative. Then GTFO"

  • François Edder-Dionne

    If you are against same-sex marriage, you are against equality, and you cannot pretend to make humanity more inclusive and more just. In which case, indeed, GTFO, conservative or not.

  • So what if I want to marry 5 women? Or how about a communal marriage - 6 guys & 4 women? That would certainly be 'more equal' than limiting to just one partner. How about if the guys are 40 and the 'women' are 16? 14? 12? That would be 'equal', too. How about throwing in a couple of chickens and a goat, because, hey, animals are people, too?

    For the record, I'm not advocating for any of the above VERY non-traditional models for 'family'. Just making a point.

    Basically, if you're for 'traditional' you must be tolerant of everything non-traditional, otherwise you're a homophobic, racist pig. On the other hand, if you're non-traditional, you can be tolerant of anything except, of course, anything traditional.

    Sounds pretty hypocritical to me.

    Whether you agree or disagree with someone else's position on ANY issue, you have to respect their right to have their position, otherwise you can't expect them to respect your right to have your position. Just saying.