Gay marriage backlash forces Mozilla CEO to quit

The CEO of Mozilla, which operates the internet browser Firefox, has stepped down after being criticised for supporting traditional marriage.

Brendan Eich, who co-founded Mozilla and created the JavaScript computer language, was appointed to the post less than two weeks ago.

He had previously given around £600 to a Californian campaign to support marriage between one man and one woman.

Enemy

Yesterday Eich stepped down from his role, with Mozilla’s Executive Chairwoman saying the business had not “stayed true to ourselves”.

Mozilla had faced criticism over the appointment, with some employees taking to Twitter to call for him to step down.

One online dating website branded him an ‘enemy’ and encouraged its users not to browse with Firefox.

Author Andrew Sullivan, who is homosexual, said however the backlash ‘disgusted him’ and wondered if Eich will “now be forced to walk through the streets in shame”.

He added: “Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.”

Leader

In a statement Eich said the company’s task is “bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader”.

According to the company, around half a billion people use its Firefox browser.

Eich gave $1,000 in support of the Proposition 8 campaign – which backed traditional marriage – in 2008.

Although Eich’s donation was made public in 2012, opposition increased after he was made CEO in March.

Controversy

Users of the OKCupid dating site were told: “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.”

In a statement yesterday Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Executive Chairwoman said: “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.”

Free speech

“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”, she added.

In a blog piece, Eich wrote: “I’ve resigned as CEO and I’m leaving Mozilla to take a rest, take some trips with my family”.

“Thanks indeed to all who have supported me, and to all my colleagues over the years, at Mozilla, in standards bodies, and at conferences around the world. I will be less visible online, but still around”, he concluded.

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