Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Gorilla at Mozilla

When political opinion is punished, that's not the American way.

Gorilla at Mozilla

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Brendan Eich

 

Is supporting “traditional marriage” intolerance?

Is opposing “marriage equality” a hate crime?

It almost seems that way.

After 10 days as CEO of Mozilla, developer of the Firefox web browser, Brendan Eich was forced to resign after it was learned he had contributed $1,000 in 2008 to a campaign  opposed to gay marriage.

One of his loudest critics was OKCupid.com, an online dating service, which put out a message saying, “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame and frustration are our enemies….”

http://gizmodo.com/okcupid-tells-users-not-to-use-firefox-because-of-ceos-1555616237

No one is trying to “deny love.”

In 2008, both Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama opposed gay marriage. That’s what they said, anyway.

One of the earliest, and loudest, voices criticizing Mozilla was openly-gay journalist Andrew Sullivan, credited with being the intellectual father of the “marriage equality” movement. Sullivan said Eich had been “scalped,” said the episode “disgusts” him and said if this is where the gay rights movement is today, “count me out.”

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/04/03/the-hounding-of-brendan-eich/

I’m not sure Sullivan had the right target in that piece. In a followup piece, he denounced the absence of “left-liberal tolerance.”

Eich’s path to the door, I’ve read, was prepared by the progressive employees and customers of Mozilla. That sounds correct to me. Politically correct.

As someone who depends on free speech, I have seen how easy both the left and the right would deny it to others.

When the left does it, it’s usually a result of political correctness, an inept effort to guarantee that no one’s feelings are ever hurt.

While it is true that Mozilla is a business and can select or reject its leaders however it chooses (within federal law) it is repugnant that someone loses a job over a political position.

How would the progressives feel if a board dominated by conservatives went about eliminating Democrats?

The rationale of the anti-Eich people was that supporting traditional marriage was akin to a hate crime, like being a Holocaust denier or a Klansman.

Henry Ford was an anti-Semite. Good thing he had a hand-picked board.

Would I have bought a Ford (at the time) knowing that was true? Maybe not. But I wouldn’t have joined a campaign to have him removed. If he refused to hire Jews, or blacks, or Catholics, that would be a different matter.

Nothing I have read says Eich’s personal views were ever translated to his business decisions.

He was pushed out because his beliefs were perceived as homophobic.

I don’t believe that any more than I believe those who support marriage equality are against traditional marriage. It’s just they have a different view of it.

How would you feel about a corporation that fired someone who supported gay marriage?

Would that be hateful? Would that be bigoted?

In a pluralistic and changing society, we should be tolerant of other views. If we can’t be tolerant, we shouldn’t punish people for holding them.

Because we might be the next victim.

Stu Bykofsky Daily News Columnist
About this blog
Stu Bykofsky has been a columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News since 1987. Prior to the column, his assignments included theater critic, TV critic, copy editor, general assignment features reporter. He supports civil-rights and animal causes, he opposes political correctness, bicycles on the sidewalk and most other forms of selfishness and stupidity.
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Reach Stu at stubyko@phillynews.com.

Stu Bykofsky Daily News Columnist
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