His personal views have no bearing on the work that Mozilla does, or his work as part of that. As a private individual he's entitled to his own views and to support those views with his own money, and I personally believe that society benefits from allowing a distinction between the personal and professional spheres. Brendan Eich the public figure should retain respect as a pivotal figure in the development of the web, even if Brendan Eich the private individual holds views that some (though by no means all) people find deeply objectionable.
1) To have a political position on this issue.
2) To enforce that political position on all of its employees.
#1 is somewhat reasonable (that is, it's a bit abnormal for a company to have a specific political position not related to their business but not completely unheard of), but #2 is very impractical and I would argue damaging.
However, I believe the split here comes whether this is a "political issue" or a "human rights issue". In my opinion, it's human rights. And I believe any company should ensure that its employees are not fighting against equality. I guess this also ties into equality for its employees. I assume there are LGBT employees of Mozilla, and I think they must feel pretty uncomfortable right now.
Unfortunately (again, in my opinion, etc.), it's treated as a political standpoint, something that big parties can argue about. But it isn't - it's about whether LGBT individuals have the same rights as straight people.
Brendan refuses to address the issue and share his side of the story. But at least Brendan's colleague Gervase Markham at Mozilla had the guts to publicly publish and attempt to explain his hateful bigoted beliefs about gay marriage, and not censor the comments that people left on his blog, even if he ignored all the valid arguments that he had no answer to (which was most of them).
If he had donated $1000 to a fund opposing inter-racial marriage, or to a fund opposing voting rights for a class of citizens, would you still feel the same way?
Bravo. This is exactly the argument we should make. If he had donated to pass an anti-miscegenation law, we would all know it was wrong.
You're free to believe whatever you want. You're free to believe men and women marrying men and women is wrong. You're free to believe that whites marrying blacks is wrong. It IS supposed to be a free country.
But when you donate to pass a law about it, it changes from belief to infringement on rights.
This is not to promote a particular viewpoint, other than.. well, it seems people do care about what other people's beliefs are, even on HN.
Now if the $1,000 went towards Westboro Baptist Church, so that they could lash out and call people "faggots", then I would be a bit upset.
Of course, if it isn't a mistake, I totally agree. I just find something published by the LA Times to be.. well.. not a real guarantee of authenticity.
Friends of mine who know him say that Brendan subscribes to a lot of crazy ideas. So no, it's not a big misunderstanding that he supports Proposition 8 and hates gays.
Now, I know it’s very difficult for people to understand, but there’s a very simple and easy way to never be called a bigot or a homophobe: don’t do bigoted or homophobic shit, like, for instance, giving money to a campaign to deny people basic human rights on the basis of their sexual orientation.
A few people expressing their disappointment with Brendan’s actions on Twitter and other sites is absolutely not anything like bigotry. Saying it is means you don’t understand. That’s what makes me most angry: that people don’t fucking listen to people in the LGBT community or seem to understand the reason why we are angry.
And, no, you don’t get to tell me to calm down or that I need to “tolerate” people who are oppressing people in my situation. No, sorry, that’s worse than supporting Prop 8. Homophobia? Sure. Whatever. That sucks and makes you stupid and disappointing. Telling me that I have to keep my trap shut about oppression because the oppressors are actually the oppressed… that’s just grade A bullshit.
This isn’t Fox News with all that “there are two sides and the truth is somewhere in the middle” crap.
Brendan Eich’s actions are homophobic and disappointing.
Lack of equal rights does material harm to gay people. People are not able to live with their partners due to shitty immigration laws or access health services. Lack of equality in law permits every minor-league bigot from the schoolroom to the boardroom the feeling they have a right to tease and torment. When the suicides stop and the violence stops, maybe we’ll talk about how the homophobes are the victims too. Until then, in order to seem fair and balanced and above-the-fray, people miss the whole reason why this is an issue.
Also, anyone can fucking donate to whoever they want. Notice in the "name" column it says "Brendan Elch", not "Mozilla, Inc." What he does with his money is his business.
As an aside: my previous job was in journalism, and generally in that field there's a (self-enforced) ethical code against making such donations largely because the employer's name is disclosed and could lead people to assume endorsement by a news outlet.
Personally, you have to address why the government is involved in marriage at all. From my understanding, it is for the purpose of encouraging the family unit and the perpetuation of society through offspring. Gay people can't have offspring unless you count lesbians and artificial insemination, but that takes the conversation down a whole other tangent.
My main point simply being, there are non-human-rights justifications for not endorsing / encouraging gay marriage, so judgment is premature.
Offering a conducive environment will always necessarily benefit others. If it didn't it'd simply be called a reward. Gay marriage proponents obviously call these assumptions into question, but unfortunately offer a worse alternative.
While there may be reasoning to support limiting marriage perks to those who procreate, that only hurts their argument that those benefits should instead be extended to gays who are least worth incentivizing.
There is no more infertile a couple than one that lacks the ability based not on imperfections, but upon their intrinsic biology.