The issue of homosexuality has become more prevalent due to many states (and in some cases a court of law) legalizing same-sex marriage. Despite the dramatic cultural shift over the past decade where now such a union is more widely accepted, the fact is that there's still close to a 50-50 split on the issue nationwide. However, the 50% who oppose gay marriage are rarely (if ever) given the benefit of the doubt in terms of a nuanced worldview. As such, same-sex marriage opponents are often labeled as bigots, homophobes and hate-filled. Never mind that many religious objections to gay marriage are based more on a biblical principle of unconditionally loving an individual without embracing their sin. Heck, some folks even make non-religious arguments against gay marriage based on statistical analysis and psychological studies without ever condemning the gay lifestyle itself.
On Thursday, a high profile individual became the latest victim in what some have dubbed a “Gaystapo.”
Brendan Eich, the well-known techie who has gotten swept up in a controversy about his support of California’s anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8, is resigning as CEO of for-profit Mozilla Corporation and also from the board of the nonprofit foundation which wholly owns it.Eich is correct that his beliefs aren’t relevant unless they adversely influenced his duties as CEO in a manner that violated the company’s standard business policies/practices. Upon being named CEO, Eich attempted to assuage the concerns of Mozilla employees as well as the general public.
Mozilla confirmed the change in a blog post.
“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves,” read the post, in part. “We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”
In several interviews this week, Eich had insisted that he would not step down from the job he was only recently appointed to, due to the intense backlash over a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 in support of the ballot measure to ban gay marriage.
“So I don’t want to talk about my personal beliefs because I kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we’ve been going,” he said to the Guardian, for example, yesterday. “I don’t believe they’re relevant.”
“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,” Mr. Eich wrote in the post. “You will see exemplary behavior from me toward everyone in our community, no matter who they are; and the same toward all those whom we hope will join, and for those who use our products.”In light of Eich’s decision to step down, it is obvious he felt his statement did not do nearly enough to repel the negative attention.
I believe other corporate officers within Mozilla could have quelled this controversy somewhat by simply emphasizing that good old American trait of healthy dissent and discourse. By insisting they vehemently disagreed with Eich’s personal stance on gay marriage while stressing his valued contributions to the company could have gone a long way. Instead, it appeared Eich was asked to recant his sentiments towards gay marriage or be left hung out to dry, something that even Andrew Sullivan (who himself is gay and in a relationship) found outrageous.
(Eich) did not understand that in order to be a CEO of a company, you have to renounce your heresy! There is only one permissible opinion at Mozilla, and all dissidents must be purged! Yep, that’s left-liberal tolerance in a nut-shell. No, he wasn’t a victim of government censorship or intimidation. He was a victim of the free market in which people can choose to express their opinions by boycotts, free speech and the like. He still has his full First Amendment rights. But 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.That’s spot on! For the homosexual movement and its allies, who have worked so tirelessly for “equality,” to engage in the very tactics they found so abhorrent is something that may very well harm their cause. Seems rather counterproductive, no?