America is a very special place to live; in this country we are free from persecution of religious beliefs and discrimination based on personal opinions. That’s the idea, anyway. In reality, people are still unfairly punished and ostracized for expressing themselves in perfectly legal ways.
Prior to stepping down from his position as chief executive officer of the Mozilla Corporation, Brendan Eich, was exposed by “OkCupid,” as a donor to the Proposition 8 campaign back in 2008. The proposition was a ballot measure that sought to legally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
In the days after Eich was “outed,” Mozilla employees demanded that Eich resign from his CEO position, which he did. We feel that this is incredibly unfair. By contributing to a campaign, Eich exercised his right to political liberty by participating in the American democratic system. To punish him for that, and to ridicule him for that is unethical.
There is no indication that his personal views would have influenced how he ran the company or how he would treat his employees. He didn’t jump on a platform and yell homophobic slurs — he merely emphasized his vote in favor of traditional marriage.
His campaign contribution totalled only $1,000, according to Tech & Gadgets. Let’s be real — that’s a pittance in comparison to the total funds major campaigns raise. He didn’t fund the entire campaign as a whole, and his contribution was moot anyway as the proposition was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.
OkCupid not only criticized Eich’s campaign contribution from six years ago, the online dating site also denied access to the site to anyone using a Mozilla, or Firefox, browser. We are uncomfortable with this reaction because it only furthers tensions between supporters of gay-marriage, and supporters of traditional marriage.
Eich had been with Mozilla since the project was born in 1998. In the early 2000s, he helped to create the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation. If anything, we are critical of the employees who demanded his resignation; we feel that these employees are quick to judge and quick to discard someone who had an integral role in their employment.
BBC News reported that Eich responded to this unfortunate turn of events by saying, “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.”
We applaud Eich’s professionalism, and wish that his employees had been more understanding of his views. Open-mindedness is a two-way street, and it looks like Mozilla is on the wrong side of the road.