Tags

, , , ,

UPDATE: Brendan Eich  reportedly is stepping down as CEO of Mozilla  following protests over his support of a gay marriage ban in California — for the company’s sake, a spokesperson has said.

*******

Post as it was presented on April 2

There’s a good interview with Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich on the CNET website. As you probably know, Brendan is under fire from LGBT supporters for making a $1,000 contribution to the Proposition 8 effort to ban same-sex marriage in California back in 2008. According to CNET, “more than 70,000 people have signed a petition asking for Eich to resign if he can’t unequivocally say he supports marriage equality.”

Brendan has made comments saying his company is inclusive and does not discriminate against LGBT people. He also says he separates his personal beliefs from his work as an employer. In other words, he checks his personal beliefs at the door, something most of us do.

I’m not sure what the big fuss is all about. Perhaps it’s not so much Brendan’s personal beliefs that bother people, but the fact that he contributed to a campaign that many people in California saw as a form of persecution. Still, he seems to have done so personally, not on behalf of a company.

The whole issue raises questions about separating an executive’s — or any employee’s — personal beliefs from the company’s, which is addressed in the CNET article. It is a pretty big issue in the United States these days. Exhibit A: The World Vision U.S. situation last week.

I can understand why LGBT supporters are upset. And as consumers, they are free to stop using Mozilla’s products in protest, if they wish. By threatening to do so, they are putting the same sort of pressure on the organization that some evangelicals successfully used against World Vision U.S. last week — i.e. they threatened to withdraw their financial support if World Vision U.S. did not rescind a decision to hire gay employees. The evangelicals proved that boycotts do work, and the current threat of boycotts might force a change at Mozilla.

Personally, I think employees and executives should not face discrimination for their beliefs, as long as those beliefs are legal. We should not discriminate against those who disapprove of same-sex marriage, just as they should not discriminate against LGBT people. As consumers, we don’t have to use a company’s products if we really can’t stomach the beliefs of the company executives. But to call for their resignation is stepping over the line; it is a form of persecution to try to take away a person’s livelihood because of his personal beliefs. They must be entitled to their beliefs.

Brendan Eich is entitled to his personal views — as long as he doesn’t impose them on others. He made a legal contribution in 2008 to a losing cause. It is water under the proverbial bridge. Let him believe what he wants.

Meanwhile, he has reached out to LGBT people. Listen to him today, and let the past go.

Thank Brendan and his company for the product they give us to use everyday — indeed, it is a product I am using to write this post and to share my views with you.

Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.

– Jillian

About these ads