Mozilla backs gay rights after CEO's past donation haunts

Mozilla backs gay rights after CEO's past donation haunts

Summary: A $1,000 donation backing the California ban on same-sex marriage has come back to haunt Mozilla's new CEO Brendan Eich.

TOPICS: Open Source

A donation that Brendan Eich, the inventor of JavaScript, and co-founder of open source company Mozilla, made to the 2008 campaign seeking to ban same-sex marriage in California has come back to haunt Mozilla after his appointment this week as its new CEO.

Brendan Eich
(Image: Mozilla)

The donation to the cause supporting Proposition 8 in the 2008 Presidential election was first picked up online in 2012, and Eich said on his blog back then admitting to the donation, but rejecting allegations of hating gay people. He said at the time that Mozilla was a diverse organisation with differing views amongst all its employees.

His appointment as the new CEO for the company, after nine years as its chief technology officer, brought back the issue of his donation to the cause, despite Proposition 8 ultimately being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013. 

In a blog post today, Hampton Catlin, the creator of Wikipedia Mobile, CSS extension language Sass, and CEO of rarebit said he would no longer develop apps for Mozilla's Firefox web browser given Eich's support for banning same-sex marriage. 

"As a gay couple who were unable to get married in California until recently, we morally cannot support a Foundation that would not only leave someone with hateful views in power, but will give them a promotion and put them in charge of the entire organisation," he said.

He said he wouldn't have been able to have started his new company, rarebit, with his husband Michael, while Michael was still on his work visa, and unable to get married. He said Eich had two years since the news of the donation to recant his views, and he said that given Eich's silence, he is unable to continue to support Mozilla.

"By the very bones in our body, we cannot dare use our creativity, experience, knowledge, and passion to further the career of a man who has to this day not apologised for his support. I can't spend hours and days and years polishing, building, and upgrading applications that make him richer than he is," Catlin said.

"Building great apps is what we love to do, it's our passion. We want to make great things for people to use. Whether it's a fun little puzzle game, or a useful dictionary, or our work on Sass."

In a statement, Mozilla said it was committed to diversity in its organisation.

"Mozilla has always been deeply committed to honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community, across all the project’s activities. One concrete example of this is in our health benefit policies. Mozilla provides the same level of benefits and advantages to domestic partners as we do to married couples across the United States, even in states where it is not mandated," the organisation said.

"For those who choose life insurance, voluntary spouse coverage extends to domestic partners, including same-sex couples. With thousands of people spanning many countries and cultures, diversity is core to who we are, and we’re united in our mission to keep the web open and accessible for everyone."

Topic: Open Source


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • so does this mean they don't want anyone who agrees with Mr Eich

    to use any of their software? will they be returning the money of any such people who made donations or payments to Wikipedia Mobile or Sass or rarebit?
    • Thank you!

      My thoughts exactly! Hampton Catlin sounds like hypocrite who promotes hate against heterosexuals.. Smh~
    • The really scary thing: these folks are exactly what they declaim against!

      They are the little hitlers dictating what THEY consider good and right and true and have the gall to call that freedom and being pro-rights. When they TRAMPLE rights. So their brains are completely scrambled, full of hate. What kind of products, then, will they design? A stupid interface like Australis, that's what. Dysfunctional like Chrome, stupid like Chrome, hitlerian like Chrome, and totally disinheriting the successful past which got them where they are.

      It's a scary world, when a sick company like this fires someone (oh, but he has to pretend he's resigning!) over a measly $1,000 contribution made SIX YEARS PRIOR. And they think they have to apologize to the public, for appointing him?

      SICK. Frankly, I'm grateful this happened so now I know how to plan my future. I was going to go into Mozilla products more deeply, since MSFT has proven daft, Google has proven hitlerian in Youtube, Adobe is long lost, Corel and Symantec have gone insane.. but hey: Mozilla is even worse. Hard to imagine.

      Linux community suffers from this kind of self-righteous fake piety. But so do Christians, Muslims, atheists, you name it. We wear our morality so much on our sleeves, these days, that we are as evil as the Catholic Church and Calvin and the Crusaders, all were. It's just a matter of degree. Hitler begins to look like Mary Poppins, by comparison.
  • can a person think for himself

    why should a person's opinion whether in same sex marriage, politics, sports or brand of toilet paper haunt him. If he prefers this and doesn't cause anyone harm, so let him.

    He has his opinion, I have mine and you have yours. Should we roast some one who doesn't have a opinion that is like ours? Really, where is the acceptance of a different person in this world?
    • It isn't just an opinion, its active support for said opinion

      Because it wasn't just an opinion, he paid money to back a cause based on hate. He can believe what he wants all day long, but once you start actively supporting it, that is when it becomes an issue.
      Stuart Becktell
      • It was nota cause based on hate

        Your Goebbel's like propaganda notwithstanding.
      • If things were in reverse

        I am sure that if Mr. Eich had donated to an organization in favor of gay marriage we wouldn't be discussing this. This is hypocrisy. He is entitled to his opinion and to act upon it. It is madness penalize a company for something like this. But wait, I propose boycotting Wikipedia Mobile for being in favor. Nonsense!
    • All very easy to say when you're not the victim of discriminatory laws

      He/you might have an opinion, Lazerx, but when the CEO of a company has donated money to a cause which explicitly seeks to deny someone a set of rights you take for granted, presumably on the assumption that their relationshi is somehow inferior (that's generally the case, at least), I think it quite natural for Hampton Catlin the react the way he did.

      Try walk a mile in a gay person's boots before you judge.
      • There was no marriage

        Discrimination. Anyone could marry any consenting member of the opposite sex.
        • Anatole France says "bonjour"

          "Anyone could marry any consenting member of the opposite sex"

          Just as rich people in France were also forbidden from sleeping under bridges, begging in the streets, and stealing bread.
          Third of Five
      • What?

        Who told you that marriage is a right? If so, point to this right in the Constitution. Until then, it isn't a right.
        • Marriage isn't a right, but it grants many Federal rights

          There are 1,138 Federal benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status. Many states provide additional benefits. So not allowing gay couples to marry turns gay people into second-class citizens. See an overview @
      • This has nothing to do with gay rights, meanclean

        TOTAL ABUSE OF THE ISSUE is going on here. ONE GUY SIX YEARS AGO makes a pittance contribution, and YOU and 70000 others, want him fired? How sick are you? I know a lot of gays who'd disagree with this stance, because they rightfully see it as the very behavior which they've suffered. You don't imitate evil to get rid of it.

        But hey: you want to be a dingdong, that's your free right. And you will reap the consequences of it, because clearly your thinking is so puerile that you won't have happiness in this life.
  • ridiculous

    This is ridiculous,
    In my country, we put gays at prison, not let them marry each other!
    Europe and USA are too Sexually promiscuous, this is destroying the life their and their countries as well as your demographic existense. so take care guys, goverment must take control of this, and control this sexual promiscuous.
    • Country?

      And which of the scientifically, morally and democratically bankrupt countries might that be? Egypt, perhaps? Syria? Lebanon? Tell me.
    • Sorry

      I feel sorry that you have such beliefs, truly sorry. Discrimination due to sexual diversity, colour, race, religion is just plain wrong wherever you live. I am sure that you hold beliefs that are not fully understood by others, should they be allowed to imprison or hate you for such beliefs?
      • But Rimmsy, meanclean advocates the same discrimination as he descries

        He's no different from the Muslims who bury you in sand or other horrendous practices. Getting a guy fired wrecks his life even worse than if you put a gun to his head.

        I guess no one learns from history. The stupid Christians (and I am one, so I can criticize freely), were persecuted by Diocletian between 301-308 AD. Then Constantine, ever the opportunist, who claimed APOLLO would grant him 120 years of victory in 310 (after his dad died and he needed to consolidate his power).. then claimed scarely two years later at the Battle of Milvan Bridge, that GOD gave him a 'sign', in hoc signo vinces -- same lie, different 'god' to bless it. Yeah, in order to garner Christian support.

        So what do those same Christians do, the minute they get in power after Constantine beat Licinus? THEY APED ALL THE PERSECUTING PRACTICES THAT HAPPENED UNDER DIOCLETIAN. The sons of Constantine murdered each other and their respective divided kingdoms, over whether 'God' was 'one' or 'three'! For the next 1000 years! To this day, every jot and tittle of what Diocletian practiced, is aped by the Roman Catholic Church, even down to the colors, and words like 'diocese' (which Diocletian coined).

        So now, the gays are going down the same road. Sodom and Gomorrah was a place that required you to practice group sex or you were killed; in ancient Athens, a young boy had to 'enter manhood' by being 'apprenticed' to an older man (guess for what).

        It wasn't just simple gay stuff. It was a condition of being in that society. Same, as Calvin's Geneva, Jim Jones cult, or 1000 other religious polities of the past. All intolerance of any kind, all herdbound joining of any kind, begins with the idea that a person should be ostracised for disagreeing with whatever A PARTICULAR GROUP calls 'right'.

        We're going back to the Dark Ages.
        • Historical documentation to support my claims

          Is in a document I started two years ago, replete with many internet scholarly sources (including the contemporary ones back in those days, in Greek and Latin), or . I'm not done documenting it all yet. If you prefer video demonstration, which is horrifically long and also not finished, start where you like in . For all this horror of Christians being most anti-Christ (and hence the trend of history among non-Christians as well).. was long predicted.
          • Correction

            I started that Ephesians thingy in Christmas 2010. So it's now the 4th year. Long way to go, to finish.
  • geez!

    PC running amok.