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Brendan Eich becomes Mozilla CEO (brendaneich.com)
396 points by bevacqua 1278 days ago | hide | past | web | 524 comments | favorite



I guess 2 years is long enough for most people to have forgotten the brief storm about his homophobic political activities. I wonder if this appointment would have been made 18 months ago when that was still fresh in people's minds. I can't help thinking that it doesn't really fit with the image Mozilla tries to present of themselves.

http://tommorris.org/posts/2550


When looking to effect change, one has to build coalitions, which sometimes means picking battles.

Eich apparently does not believe that I deserve the same rights that he does, but if he is a champion of other values I hold, does that mean I should write him off entirely?

While I might prefer someone in a position like his to share all my political views, that's not really feasible. The ones that are relevant to his position as CEO of Mozilla are his views on privacy, software freedom, etc.

It's especially relevant to note that this is a donation he made "privately" as an individual (it's public due to financing laws, but it's not the same as (e.g.) giving the keynote address at a NOM event.)

I happen to disagree with his views on Proposition 8, but unless they translate into discrimination in the workplace (which is an addressable problem in itself), I might be willing to support his work in one field while separating myself from his personal viewpoints in another field.


His position as CEO (as opposed to CTO or whatever it was before) changes things. Many companies, for example, offer spousal benefits to their LGBT employees' partners even in states where gay marriage isn't legal and they're not required to so by law. That the CEO doesn't believe LGBT people are entitled to the equal benefits as compared to straight people may predict the likelihood of such an organization to take enact such policies, or maintain them if they already exist. It also may not, but as a gay person, were I a current or prospective employee of Mozilla, this would give me pause. Even leaving aside whether "hate," "homophobic," etc., are appropriate here, there are potential practical implications here, and the insistence that this is a private political matter that has no impact on his professional life is problematic.


For the record, Mozilla does provide employee benefits that cover same-sex domestic partners, and I would be shocked if any CEO attempted to change this. (I am a Mozilla employee.)

The Mozilla community is governed by participation guidelines that state: "support for exclusionary practices must not be carried into Mozilla activities," and "support for exclusionary practices in non-Mozilla activities should not be expressed in Mozilla spaces."

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/governance/policies/parti...

UPDATE: In a meeting with Mozilla staff this morning, Brendan reiterated that he was involved in the creation of that code of conduct, and supports it 100%. He also specifically said that he should be held accountable to it, and that it's important for those in positions of power to be accountable to those with less power.


It would have been nice if he also addressed that issue in this message instead of a staff meeting. I mean, like, there is literally a world watching (geographically, not necessarily when it comes to population).


We (the staff) asked for a public statement of some sort, and he seemed open to that.


That would be welcome to hear, as a Mozilla user and someone who wants to trust the org to stand for inclusive, humanist values in Internet technology.


Wow, so every CEO should be be asked to state their position on social issues?

What are staff going to do if they don't like the answers? Quit? Strike?


As a policy, no.

But when they've taken a public position that implies they consider some employees to be less equal than others, yes.

Anything should of "I was wrong" implies he is not fit to lead a diverse organization.


He hasn't taken a public position. He's pretty consistently refused to speak publicly about politics at all. The only reason we know his private position is because somebody found his name in a list of private donors to a ballot initiative six years ago.


He was too chicken to open his own mouth. Instead, he paid others $1000 to get the state of California to call my friends f----ts for him. That's enough of a public position for me.


You are making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Grow up.


Well, if donating money is political speech that's covered by the first amendment, then he shouldn't be surprised if his money talks.


Mozilla is a non-profit that takes moral stances. So their CEO has to embody those values as well.


I am curious to know if you (the staff) were satisfied by the public statement put out?


There is a difference between a statement someone got asked for or an immediate statement (even a short one like: "I acknowledge that some people in the developer community have issues with this decision because of my donation to prop8, an issue I will address soon").

The current state of things shows that he didn't feel like this needs to be addressed by himself.


Which issues would remain private political matters?

If he feels the climate change is a real danger to humanity, won't he make Mozilla more environmentally friendly?

If he feels health care should be a basic right, won't he improve health benefits at Mozilla?

If he feels marijuana should be legal, won't he be less likely to do drug tests for employees?

Every big political issue affects real lives. Why is no one asking how Brendan Eich feels about climate change, health care and marijuana before deciding if he is fit for the job?

I'm not trying to support either side on homosexual marriage. I just think we need to ask the question: Why is someone an extreme, irrational, homophobic bigot (all quotes from this HN thread) if they give money to a political cause opposing it but we don't even care how they feel about health care, or climate change, or marijuana, or abortion, or really just about any other political issue that affects people's lives?


For better or for worse, under US campaign finance laws political donations are a public act. He could have gone into the voting booth and voted which ever way he wanted on Prop 8 and no one would have known anything about his position on the issue. Just as (presumably, I haven't checked) no one knows his stance on marijuana or climate change.

The CEO, particularly of a non-profit that seeks volunteers, is more than just another employee. He's the public face of the organization. So taking a public position which alienates many of the very people the organization needs in order for it to achieve its goals, goes directly to his fitness for the job.


Which issues would remain private political matters?

Short answer: none, if somebody disagrees with them.

This is another sign of our increasingly polarized (and politicized) society.

If Eich supported Prop 8 in California, then clearly he's a homophobic tool of the Koch Brothers.

If Eich opposed Prop 8, then clearly he's a leftist degenerate and tool of George Soros.

I'd like to propose an addition to Shakespeare's list: after the lawyers, we go after the damn partisans.


  If Eich supported Prop 8 in California, then clearly he's a homophobic tool of the Koch Brothers.

  If Eich opposed Prop 8, then clearly he's a leftist degenerate and tool of George Soros.
You're doing something at least as logically incorrect as the application of partisan labels if you're characterizing this discussion in such a way. I see a pretty good discussion where the overwhelming majority of people are expressing disappointment in one of Eich's actions, not engaging in partisan name-calling.


> I see a pretty good discussion where the overwhelming majority of people are expressing disappointment in one of Eich's actions

If it were really about expressing disappointment, then the work would have been done the last time(s) this was hashed out.

Bringing it up at the time he's receiving the office carries a clear implication: support for prop 8 should be a mark against considering someone for high profile positions like this or should perhaps outright disqualify them.


Wait. If we're disappointed, it can only be expressed during some specific window? And we can only be disappointed... once?

For whatever it's worth, I'd somehow missed this news about Brandon Eich the first time around.


> And we can only be disappointed... once?

I'd think the "plural" on times would cover the answer to that question, on the level you're asking, anyway.

More to the point, yes, there are limits to what a financial contribution to prop 8 implies that thoughtful people will recognize. One of them might be bound to what an action taken 5 years ago would imply about positions today.

> For whatever it's worth, I'd somehow missed this news about Brandon Eich the first time around.

Clearly, you have been long and deeply engaged in the relevant topics.


So it's only partisan if they agree with Eich?


It's only partisan if the community's split on the issue -- it's not partisan to be against slavery or support women's suffrage, even though it once was, and it's rapidly becoming non-partisan to support equal rights for gay relationships.


So is "the community" an accurate reflection of society at large?


Does it matter? The job is a tech community job.

If he were publicly in favor of warrantless wiretapping, he'd be catching even more crap about it from the tech community, yet the tech community is even further out of step from mainstream society on that issue.


Does it matter?

Apparently it does matter to quite a few people here. If the community represents society as a whole, then it is a serious issue. If the community does not, then this is a tempest in a teapot.


There are a few possible meanings of partisanship. The definition most relevant to American politics involves acting/thinking along party lines, as opposed to thinking independently about specific issues.


"If Eich supported Prop 8 in California, then clearly he's a homophobic tool of the Koch Brothers."

The Koch Brothers have given money to support gay marriage. If you intend to slander people at least be truthful on what they support or don't support.


Read my post again. Who exactly did I slander, besides nameless partisans?


The Koch Brothers as you misrepresented their stance and perpetuated a myth.


I'll repeat: read my post again.

I posted two typical positions held by partisans on either end of the political spectrum. Neither did I represent as my opinion, and definitely not as fact.

Why did you latch on to one of these positions? Aren't you equally outraged about the "leftist degenerate and tool of George Soros" position as well?

Did it occur to you that perhaps if I was posting two diametrically opposing viewpoints, I was making a larger point and not simply spouting my personal beliefs?

Have the downvotes proven my point?


Yes, I got that you were "posting two diametrically opposing viewpoints", but that doesn't mean that you should get a pass on misrepresenting the example you gave for one of your opposing viewpoints since it was in error and not the viewpoint of the party you attributed it to. I didn't look up George Soros's view on the issue to find out if your example's mention represented his belief or not.

Making larger points doesn't give one license to misrepresent the view of people in such a contentious issue. I'm sure if someone attributed that belief to you as part of a larger point, you would feel a bit slighted.

> Have the downvotes proven my point?

I cannot down vote you, and I don't know what the down voters found about your post that lead them to take their action. Perhaps they will comment also.


How exactly did I misrepresent the view?

Have not the Koch brothers been slandered in the media and in fact on the floor of the Senate? Have they not been made into the Great Conservative Boogeyman?

As for "homophobic": the first post in the thread contains the following phrase: "I guess 2 years is long enough for most people to have forgotten the brief storm about his homophobic political activities."

Do you mean to tell me that nobody would ever take such a position as I stated?


"How exactly did I misrepresent the view?"

oh for the love of words, your example was: "If Eich supported Prop 8 in California, then clearly he's a homophobic tool of the Koch Brothers."

So, you made the association of "homophobic tool" to "Koch Brothers" indicating that they have such tools. Your example directly attributed beliefs to the Koch Brothers that they do not hold and actually oppose with money. This would be misrepresentation.

"Have not the Koch brothers been slandered in the media and in fact on the floor of the Senate? Have they not been made into the Great Conservative Boogeyman?"

Yes, they have been slandered on the Senate floor. That doesn't give you a free pass to commit the same slander. Adding to the pile is not a commendable activity.

"Do you mean to tell me that nobody would ever take such a position as I stated?"

It seems that plenty of people like to attribute to people things they do not actually believe. It is quite common in politics. It is still slander.


I apologize for using sarcasm in my previous posts. That, along with pointing out absurdity, is apparently an unacceptable use of language for some.

In the future I shall try to make the effort of being very direct and to the point so as to avoid any confusion. This, hopefully, will alleviate the concerns of the literal-minded, the humorless, and the partisan.


How about, in the future, pick your examples with a care for those who you name.


  Why is no one asking how Brendan Eich feels about climate change, health care and marijuana before deciding if he is fit for the job?
It's because (correct me if I'm wrong) he hasn't spoken publicly about those causes, nor funded them.

Also, many wrongs don't make a right. It's a large and common fallacy to suggest there's anything incorrect about questioning his views on human rights simply because his views on (for example) the environment haven't been questioned.


You have no idea whether he's funded those causes. The only reason you know about Prop 8 is because the full list of donors to both sides was posted and everyone started looking at it. That's not typical for political donations. As far as I can tell, campaign donation recipients don't even have to publicly report donations of less than $1000 in California.

Of course from what I can tell, he also hasn't spoken publicly about the particular issue at hand, except to the extent that people asked him direct questions about it based on the abovementioned public list of donations.

I agree that the issue of climate change is a complete non-sequitur here, though.


His donation re Prop8 quite literally made international news, which is why it's on his Wikipedia article. It's probably the thing his name is known for outside tech circles.


Sure. What does that have to do with what I said?


You're implying it was a trivial thing no-one should reasonably be paying much attention to. It appears that, when put the test, this opinion turned out to be incorrect.


Uh... I think you're reading things into what I said that simply aren't there.

JohnBooty seems to think that the donation was a purposeful public statement, and in particular that the goal of the donation was to make said public statement, which is why there is no public information on any other political donations that Brendan might have made. I was pointing out that there is no information on other things simply because there hasn't been the same level of scrutiny, and that Brendan wasn't exactly going out of his way to speak out in public about his views on this issue (which is why 4 years passed between him making the donation and anyone noticing it). How you got from that to what you think I was "implying" is a bit beyond me.


  You have no idea whether he's funded those causes.
Pretty solid reason not to discuss his involvement in those causes, I'd say.


Indeed, but that's not the reasoning you used above.


I didn't express any opinion or reasoning at all about whether or not we should discuss his other views.

What I said is that even if you feel his non-Prop 8 views are (in your opinion) underexamined, that doesn't change the fact that it's correct to question his actions and views regarding Prop 8.


These arguments are not inline with the real problem I have with Brendan Eich.

He ACTIVELY contributed to a political campaign who's goal was discriminate against a particular group of people. This is a civil rights issue, it has nothing to do with politics, or beliefs.

There are political issues, then there are civil rights issues.


Respectfully, all rights issues, including civil rights issues, are political issues.


1. Many companies are run by CEOs that probably don't approve of legal marijuana, and also don't do drug testing. I think this link is tenuous at best.

2. Actively rallying against same-sex marriage shows a level of commitment above just a general disproval of the idea. "I will vote against it" is a weaker position than, "I will put money into making sure that it doesn't happen."

3. Issues like the environment, and health care, while important, aren't discriminatory towards specific groups of people. Would you rather that health care and environmental-sustainability were solved issues, but discrimination wasn't?

4. Do you feel that people who only ask about (e.g.) health care issues are implicitly accepting of discrimination?


Your stance in (3) is debatable. These are both issues that have more affect on poor people. E.g. In the Northern hemisphere, the east ends of cities are generally where more poor people live because they are downwind of the pollution (if the geography allows for an east end).


That statement was less of a stance than an explanation. The parent seemed to not understand why people would be so upset about Eich's homophobia, while at the same time not question his other views. My explanation is that people are more up in arms about issues that specifically target a sub-section of people.

While health care and environment issues may affect the poor more than the rich, someone's views on either topic don't necessarily translate to "I don't like poor people and want to restrict their rights" in the same way that financially rallying against gay marriage does translates into expressing specific views about a specific group of people.


There's a big difference between a policy that has an indirect effect on a variety of groups and one that very explicitly targets a specifically defined group for formal mal-treatment under law.

And yes, systematically violating someone's 14th Amendment rights is map-treatment writ large.


Isn't homophobia a good predictor of climate change ignorance, no interest in health care as a right and criminalization of marijuana usage?


Being elected to office in the United States is a good predictor of no interest in health care as a right and criminalization of marijuana usage.

Perhaps you meant "No interest in compelling citizens to give amounts of money to the insurance industry for no change in service and no interest in verbally opposing marijuana criminalization while refusing to exercise one's right to pardon every marijuana offender in the nation?"


No, my comment stands as it is.


Many people who oppose gay marriage simply have a deep-seated attachment to the word "marriage" and do not actually harbor ill will toward gays or wish to deprive them of any benefits.

I personally am all for gay marriage, but I have many friends and family members who fall into the group I'm talking about here. They don't want to see gay people put out at all; they just aren't ready to strip the word "marriage" of the religious associations it holds for them.


> they just aren't ready to strip the word "marriage" of the religious associations it holds for them.

They haven't been to Vegas, have they?


I agree that it doesn't seem like an entirely rational viewpoint. It's a very deeply personal thing for them. I'm just saying that their opposition to "gay marriage" doesn't necessarily mean they bear animosity toward gay people.


When someone says to me "I oppose gay marriage but I have no animosity towards gay people", I hear "I am unable to recognize my own animosity towards gay people".*

* I suppose that doesn't hold for the abolish-all-marriage or separate-legal-and-religious-marriage folks.


What I'm saying is that, if you talk to them, a surprising number of these people actually are essentially separate-legal-and-religious-marriage proponents. It's not that they want to deprive gay people of anything — they just have a religious act called "marriage" that is between a man and a woman and they feel like somebody is trying to take that away from them. They are fine with a secular institution that is open to gays and is identical to the legal concept of marriage as it exists today — they just don't want it getting mixed up with a religious institution that is very dear to them.

(I'm not saying that everyone who supported Prop. 8 is this way either. Some of them really are hateful folk — but not all of them. What I'm saying is just that if you think everyone who supported Prop. 8 did so because they are spiteful toward gays, you are painting with way too broad a brush. It's a diverse bunch.)


Yeah, I've heard similar things from Prop 8 supporters. But my personal take is that (for some, at least) the very deeply personal thing they feel, which they feel like someone is trying to take away, is actually antipathy towards people and lifestyles which they haven't in the past had to recognize as legitimate.


I am rabidly liberal, think that marriage between two people—regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.—should be legal in all 50 states, and also think that the government should get out of the 'marriage' business altogether. For the foreseeable future, we're stuck with the whole marriage thing for better or worse (hah), so we have to make the best of it.


I get the concept. Basically, they're not opposed to gays being treated equally. They just want to keep it separate. Separate, but equal.


It is easier to pretend that Vegas is "over there" and thus the things that happen in Vegas are easy to dissociate oneself from. (i.e., "What happens in Vegas...")


But what the gays do over there in California does matter?


For Californians, what gays do in California isn't "over there". It's "right here".

You seem to be trying very hard to make pro-gay marriage arguments (and not succeeding at all, I should add), but you're arguing with people who agree with you on the political issue. I'm trying to help explain the phenomenon, which may provide a stepping stone to figuring out how to best convince people like chc's friends and family.


By the same token, are the don't-redefine-marriage people who live in Vegas trying to shut down the Elvis Chapel?

I've given up trying to convince people like chc's friends and family.


> By the same token, are the don't-redefine-marriage people who live in Vegas trying to shut down the Elvis Chapel?

I don't know. Are they? I'm not really abreast of Las Vegas politics.

> I've given up trying to convince people like chc's friends and family.

What are you hoping to achieve with this conversation, then? Moral high ground?


Trying to point out the silliness of the "redefine marriage" argument, I guess. Feel free to ignore me.


If he was a developer, architect or something else like that, I'd generally agree.

However, he is now CEO. Imagine just how many people he'd alienate inside Mozilla by basically saying "I don't think you should have the same rights as me".

This is not just another political topic, no matter how people would like to frame it that way. This is about treating people the same. You can still think that homosexuality is wrong and support gay marriage. But someone who goes so far as to say no to gay marriage is basically saying they view that group of people as less than another group of people and should have less rights.

This is unacceptable.


This is unacceptable.

C'mon. In 2004 and 2008, with this very much a live issue, something north of 90% of American voters voted for a presidential candidate who professed to be against gay marriage. You are getting and will continue to get the social change you want, but it's crazy to ostracize someone for having the same political view as 2008 candidate Barack Obama. Try to be graceful and persuasive.


Are you saying that a boss of gay people shouldn't get called out for effectively saying, "Hey, you people don't deserve the same civil rights the rest of us do"? That he should be able to just coast along?

Because that sounds like horseshit to me. That gay people can now get married in some minority of American states is progress, sure. But I'm not seeing why that means people, gay or straight, can't call a bigoted action a bigoted action. If somebody is obligated to be graceful and persuasive here, surely that's Eich, who started this out by doing something a lot of his employees find obviously hostile.


He didn't say that at all. You are reading a whole lot into a simple transfer of money about which Eich has said hardly a word. You have taken something that is barely an identifiable stance — and certainly not a public one — and turned it into a declaration of extremism.

An equally plausible read would be "Eich belongs to a religion that holds marriage as a core tenet and was encouraged by his pastor to donate along with the rest of the congregation. He actually wants gays to have equal rights and believes treating gays well is the right course for any business entity, but his personal religious beliefs — which he keeps strictly separate from his official duties — have certain hooks in the word 'marriage'."

Fun fact: Many churches were actually telling their congregants that without Prop. 8, the state would require their church to perform gay marriages, and that they should vote for Prop. 8 if they wanted their church's religious freedom to remain intact.


He did effectively say that, because that was the practical effect of passing Prop 8, something he helped pay for.

If he was misled on this topic, all he has to do is say, "Hey, I was wrong: I thought this was about free speech, but it turned out that wasn't the case. I had also confused the notions of religious and civil marriage. Mea culpa. I fully support the subsequent court decisions recognizing that all my employees have the right to be married to the partner of their choice."

Instead, he's chosen to stonewall. Which means that the most plausible reading is that he still believes in what Prop 8 was plainly trying to do: strip civil rights from gay people.


Really? I don't see any reason to suspect his intentions were any more sinister than my friends and family members who supported Prop. 8, who generally had much less interest in stripping gay people's rights than they did in protecting a religious institution that is very important to them. A lot of the people I know who supported Prop. 8 have actually spoken out against homophobic rhetoric they've come across, because they sincerely do care about gay people — but they still supported Prop. 8, because they felt more like their religion was under attack than gay people.

I'm not saying that it was all because of the flat-out lies like the state forcing gay marriages on churches, either. I was just giving that as an example of how hard churches worked to tie Prop. 8 with being a good religious person. Not everyone who supported it did so because they personally have it in for gay people.


It seems to me to come down to the same thing. Either Eich was misled, in which case he should apologize. Or he was trying to strip a civil right from gay people for his personal reasons. Whether that's anti-gay animus or just believing that his right to religious freedom trumps other people's civil rights seems irrelevant.

Either way, I think he owes an explanation to the gay people he will soon be managing, and to Mozilla's many gay and gay-allied business partners and donors. Like it or not, the CEO personally represents the organization. His saying, "Gosh, my reasons for oppressing gay people are personal and complex," doesn't wash with me, and it surely won't with a lot of other people.


I think someone should ask him whether he's changed his mind. It seems fairly likely; public opinion on gay marriage has changed a lot since 2008.


Hi, Brian! In 2012 he refused to say: https://brendaneich.com/2012/04/community-and-diversity/


ha, this is a laughable anti-apologetic defense. replace "gay" with "black" or "women" and laugh along.

edit: as i reread this an hour later i can't help but feel more strongly. i was originally laughing at the ignorance on display but it's probably more harmful than funny.

"...people in any group or project of significant size and diversity will not agree on many crucial issues unrelated to the group or project." ... "Not only is insisting on ideological uniformity impractical, it is counter-productive..."

this sounds like a defense out of American History X.


Obama also (deeply incoherently, I might add) opposed Prop 8, while Eich actively funded it.

Obama's position was cowardly, but pretty much every knowledgeable Democrat and Republican believed and knew that he was just cynically posturing. He was a supporter of gay marriage in 1994, for Christ's sake. How many social liberals went through the past two decades and became less supportive of gay marriage? Only to switch their mind three years later?

Trust me, I'd be the first to point out that there's a whole lot to criticize Obama for in all of this. But believing he's a homophobe instead of a cynical liar is a bridge too far.


Looked at from another angle, it's actually quite democratic for a candidate for public office to shift his or her platform away from their personal beliefs and towards the beliefs of those they're attempting to represent.


But all he ended up representing was incoherent and incompatible policy preferences. I might agree that represents public opinion well, but it's nothing to be proud of.


At the time he was elected in 2008, a majority of Americans did not favor same-sex marriage.

At the time he changed his public stance, a majority of Americans favored same-sex marriage.

Seems coherent.


If you replaced the word "gay" with the word "interracial", would you be receptive to the argument that we should excuse this sort of bigotry because in the past many Americans thought that way?

Of course you wouldn't, so don't try to excuse it in this case.


Actively contributing to anti-gay causes is not the same thing as being on the fence about gay marriage.


He wasn't "on the fence about it". He's just changed his position more often than some people change their tires.

Obama was for same-sex marriage in 1996, "undecided" in 1998, opposed in 2004 and 2008, and for it again in 2012.

Unambiguously.


Correct or not, that's irrelevant to the point I was making. The farthest he has ever gone against gay marriage is to say that he personally believed marriage was between a man and a woman. He never campaigned against it and even when personally opposed to it, consistently said that legislation like DOMA was unnecessary. That's hardly equivalent to giving $1000 to prop 8.


Yes because we all know statements made on the campaign trail meant to appeal to both sides are a 100% accurate portrayal of the candidate's actual position.


At some point Obama might have to take an actual stand on something, and then follow up on it. Him being a politician doesn't absolve him of his uselessness.

Last example: ooh Putin, you're going to face costs for these shenanigans!


Is being graceful the same as being against other people having loving relationships that are different than the majority? Because Obama was against it? I really do not understand this perspective.


You seem to be either implying or assuming that not supporting gay marriage necessarily means believing homosexuality is wrong, but in my experience, that is false and only the converse is true. The people I know who don't support gay marriage have no problem with homosexuality or homosexual people (that is, they have no problem with people identifying as gay nor having gay sex), they just believe that allowing gay marriage would be redefining "marriage". (Which I believe is a bigoted opinion, but I am sympathetic to their ignorance and fear.)

I don't believe this is sampling bias on my part; in fact, I thought that was exactly the position on gay marriage taken up by both Obama and McCain in 2008, I specifically remember there was some debate or joint interview or something where Obama opened by strongly asserting that gay people deserve all the same rights, and McCain opened by strongly asserting that he doesn't believe in "redefining marriage", and they proceed to find that they completely agree with each other.


This is about treating people the same.

Gays and straights are treated the same - both are free to marry people of the opposite sex. Gays may prefer not to do that, but they do have the legal right.

As for finding your preferences are not legally favored, that happens to lots of people. I prefer to have no fixed address, which is NOT a legally favorable preference to have (try opening a bank account, etc). I prefer not to buy insurance covering procedures I will never need [1].

Are laws preventing me from satisfying my preferences on these matters all unacceptable? If Eich favored Obamacare or "Know Your Customer" banking laws, would that also be unacceptable?

[1] Supposing that I lived in the US.


"In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread." -- Anatole France


Your notion of "treated the same" matches approximately nobody's, aside from a handful of wordy bigots. More importantly, it doesn't qualify under the 14th amendment, which is the standard that matters here: http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4220110321.PDF


You can demonize me all you want, but you've still provided no philosophical justification for the viewpoint that penalizing preferences in general is acceptable except for gay sex preferences. Citing an activist court opinion (which totally misuses the rational basis test) is not a substitute for thinking through your own views.

If your actual opinion is merely "gays are on my team, therefore I support them", that's fine. But don't couch it in abstract principles like "treating people the same.


"Activist court" used to have a pretty specific meaning, so I'm sad to see it become, "issuing opinions I don't agree with". There's no legislating from the bench here. There was a law that was judged to be unconstitutional, so it got struck down. As it has in other jurisdictions for strikingly similar reasons. And that Random Internet Guy disagrees with a variety of federal judges on how to apply the rational basis test is interesting I guess, but you can see how I'd be unmoved.

The purpose of civil marriage is mainly to promote families. That being the way we insure the continuance of our society down the ages. Some people make their families in a way that is perfectly fine on outcome measures, but other people find squicky. My view, one with which the courts are agreeing, is that "eeew" is not a rational basis for excluding those people from the institution of marriage, because the 14th amendment demands (and our sense of natural justice requires) that people be equal before the law.

Of course, I am also on team gay, because I have gay friends and gay family members. And also because I'm not a bigoted asshole. But happily, it fits in with my "treating people the same" bias, one I have carefully considered, so this one hasn't required a lot of extra thinking. And since this bias is conveniently baked into American jurisprudence already, I'm looking forward to this working itself out over the next decade or so as the "eeew" brigade dies off.

And I'll add that I have no obligation to provide justifications for views that I don't hold, like the kookily put one in your first sentence. If you'd like to keep putting yourself forth as a pillar of rational discussion, I'd suggest you stick to holding people to account only for what they've said, not the things you imagine while getting freaked out about gay sex.


I say "activist" because the rational basis test was applied incorrectly. If you are citing experts (as this opinion does), you are doing it wrong. The rational basis test is simply supposed to determine whether there could be a rational justification for a law - i.e., it's not the job of the court to determine whether the legislature chose the right expert to believe.

As for your "treating people the same" bias, which people get treated the same? Gay people? People who prefer to marry their brother/sister? People who prefer not to buy health insurance? You haven't addressed this at all.

I have no idea why you believe I'm "freaked out" about gay sex. I really don't care what private acts consenting people choose to do. I just don't understand how one draws a line between gay sex and, for example, non-reproductive incest or unlicensed medicine. Nor do I understand how subsidizing preferences for straight marriage are illegitimate, but subsidizing preferences for immobility are legitimate.

You've certainly provided no such justification - it's not as if the 14'th amendment says sex preferences are protected, but risk preferences are not.

Clearly you haven't thought things through well enough to provide any explanation, so I'm signing off. Enjoy the moral posturing.


Well. Denied further fruits of your wisdom, I can at least console myself that you will surely educate the variety of federal judges who don't understand the law as deeply as you.


I swear, every single argument against gay marriage is just a refurbished argument against interracial marriage. These arguments were bullshit then, and they are bullshit now. You should be ashamed of yourself.


To be fair: "they'll adopt kids and turn them gay" doesn't really have a parallel in the interracial marriage debate, as far as I can tell.


It does. "Women in interracial couples will give birth to multiracial kids" or some variant thereof is that parallel.

EDIT: I don't support either position (on gay marriage and interracial marriage). I'm just pointing out that there is a parallel in the reasoning of those who oppose gay couples and interracial couples from the angle of the children they'll raise.


Yes, or slightly more charitably: "kids benefit from having both male and female role models at home." I struggle with this a bit.


That's not an argument against gay marriage, that's an argument against gay parenting (and to stop that, you need a national ban on turkey basters). Except it's kind of a rubbish argument against gay parenting:

That some state of affairs X in a family is best for children is not an argument that not-X should be forbidden.

Children do better if they have rich parents, who can afford to buy them a wide variety of toys, give them a better education, buy them private tutors and books and plenty of other resources to give them a head-start in life. That doesn't mean that the rest of society shouldn't be allowed to raise children even though those children will be raised in a suboptimal fashion.

If - and it is a big, complex, still-being-debated-by-social-scientists type of if - parenting by opposite-sex biological parents is the gold standard, that doesn't mean that people who still get to silver or bronze shouldn't also be able to parent.


For the record, I am an unequivocal supporter of gay marriage, and I have always voted for it.

The only thing that makes me at all uncomfortable about it is the possibility that it sets a norm where it is considered prejudiced and discriminatory to even ask the question of whether same-sex couples are the best for children.

For example, it is pretty well accepted that having two parents is better for children than just one (all else being equal; abusive two-parent relationships are obviously worse). No one would argue that single parenting should be illegal. But it's not taboo to say that having two parents is probably better for kids than having just one. (Though of course many people have superstar single parents and turn out great.)

Likewise I would never argue that gay parenting should be illegal. I just don't want to see it become an ostracizable offense to ask the question, without agenda, of whether same-sex parent situations are the best for kids.


Yep, political correctness is stifling open debate.

For some strange reason, nobody wants to discuss polygamous marriages, and whether they should be legal or not. It would be the height of hypocrisy to support gay marriage but not allow multiple consenting adults to form a similar union. Yet to even raise the issue invites ridicule.

Another thing, I've often heard gay people use the derogatory term "breeders" to slur heterosexual couples with children. Why is this ok? Why doesn't anyone stand up and say this is wrong?


> I've often heard gay people use the derogatory term "breeders" to slur heterosexual couples with children.

It's not okay. It's mean and wrong and people shouldn't be mean about straight people.

> Why doesn't anyone stand up and say this is wrong?

I'm sitting down: I hope that is okay.


> For some strange reason, nobody wants to discuss polygamous marriages, and whether they should be legal or not.

To me this is not hypocritical, because I do not see a contingent of people saying "we are living in healthy polygamous de facto marriages and wish to have the state recognize them." I don't think you can reason about this in a logical vacuum, it's about observing what actually happens in reality.

> Another thing, I've often heard gay people use the derogatory term "breeders" to slur heterosexual couples with children.

I've only ever heard this term used in fun. Any term used in a genuinely derogatory way is not ok by me.


> I do not see a contingent of people saying "we are living in healthy polygamous de facto marriages and wish to have the state recognize them."

So the minority should not have any civil rights?

In the US there are currently two different TV shows both featuring a man and his five "wives" and all their kids, and they all seem well adjusted and happy. Yet the law does not allow the man to be married to all of them. One of them has been fighting this stuff in court in Utah.

Why do people support gay marriage but not polygamous marriage? Why aren't there activists on street corners handing out leaflets and asking for donations to help minorities in Utah?

There is obviously some kind of double standard going on here and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it is simply human nature at work. Gay people who want to get married only care about their own situation and are simply not interested in polygamous marriages.

So it is somewhat hypocritical to expect the majority, who are not gay, to care about gay marriage when the debate is not truly about civil rights, because if it were, the campaign would also be fighting for the rights of polygamous families.

I'd like to see the discussion take place and not be dismissed out-of-hand.


> So the minority should not have any civil rights?

I said nothing of the sort. Maybe the reason you are not seeing the discussion you want is because you put people on the defensive by misinterpreting their words.


What exactly did you mean by "contingent"? I interpreted what you wrote as meaning that since there aren't a vocal group of polygamous families making themselves seen and heard, it was somehow okay to ignore them because they were so insignificant.

Maybe I misunderstood what you were saying, but I think my point still stands: that the marriage equality campaign is not really about equality for everybody because it does not include minority* groups like polygamists.

*Although in many cultures polygamy was the norm for hundreds and thousands of years and only recently been banned.


> since there aren't a vocal group of polygamous families making themselves seen and heard

Good so far.

> it was somehow okay to ignore them because they were so insignificant.

It's not about "ignoring" anybody because of their "insignificance." It's about legislating around what is healthy, on the whole.

I haven't done a lot of research into polygamy, but my sense based on the little I have been exposed to suggests to me that in many cases where it occurs it is, in practice, an unhealthy power dynamic.

A good comparison for this is the age of consent. Sexual relationships with minors are illegal because in many/most cases they involve an unhealthy power dynamic. Now there are exceptions (and the rules are pretty arbitrary in that a 17/18 year old couple is a completely different thing than a 15/30 year old couple). But on the whole this is good and important.

Now I could be completely off on my understanding of polygamy in practice. But I have a lot more information about what LGBT relationships are like in real life and therefore feel far more conviction that they are healthy and should be fully accepted. Show me people in healthy polygamous relationships who want to see them state-recognized and I am open to changing my mind.

The "healthyness" of them is important, not only to protect vulnerable people from unhealthy power dynamics, but because if legalized, the state would need to become involved in all sorts of questions like what happens when a polygamous marriage is dissolved. What if just one person leaves? How does custody/property work in all of these cases? What if there are disagreements about power of attorney among remaining spouses when one spouse is in the hospital? The legal aspects of marriage get complicated quickly when there are more than two participants. Unless society has a good understanding of what these polygamous relationships mean and how they function, it would be pretty hard for the courts to decide what is "fair" in these difficult cases.

These are the reasons I don't think you can reason about this in a logical vacuum. You can't just extrapolate and say "well if you can marry one man, the stat is being unjust if you can't also marry two." Life and laws aren't a logic puzzle. They are based on our understanding of the human condition and our ideals about a fair/just society.


Studies indicate that kids of gay parents do just as well as kids of straight parents. On the other hand kids of poor parents do less well than kids of rich parents. Therefore, make gay marriage legal and make poor marriage illegal. /s


> Studies indicate that kids of gay parents do just as well as kids of straight parents.

I would love to see these studies. I'll look into this a bit more, but do you have any you particularly recommend?


Wikipedia is a good place to start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_parenting It has links to these studies, as well as criticisms about the limitations of these studies.


How's this:

Interracial couples will raise children that believe interracial marriages are OK and will be less likely seek a mate and marry strictly within their race.


Yep, that's the right way to phrase it, and I believe I've actually seen it phrased that way in older (read: bigoted) opinions on the topic.


Many opponents of miscegenation are revolted by the "mutts" produced by interracial couples and believe that they will pollute the "pure" races. This is very much the same fear: "If I allow these couples to have children, they will produce children who reflect the coupling."


I didn't argue against gay marriage. I argued that fingerprinter's argument in favor of it is nonsensical. You are arguing against a straw man.

But I guess moral posturing/bullying is more fun than careful thought, so have at it.


> Gays and straights are treated the same - both are free to marry people of the opposite sex. Gays may prefer not to do that, but they do have the legal right.

Yep, blacks and whites are treated the same — both are free to marry in their race. Blacks may prefer not to do that, but they do have the legal right.


Characterizing sexual orientation as a preference (not to mention a casual preference that can be changed when convenient) ignores the large volume of evidence to the contrary. You may not realize this, but it comes off as pretty vile. Or you might just be trolling.


I doubt he is trolling. His past comments indicate he has pretty extreme political views.


How is sexual orientation anything other than a preference? Note that whether or not a preference is "casual" is not relevant to either my post or the post I responded to.

You can demonize me all you want, but it's not a substitute for carefully thinking through your views. I imagine it's more fun though, and less risky - after all, careful thought can result in discovering you are wrong about something.


There's an elephant in the room which people don't like discussing:

If sexual orientation is not a preference, is it genetic and if so, what happens if scientists can screen for it?


I don't understand - how are "it is genetic" and "it is a preference" contradictory? The two statements seem orthogonal to one another.

Suppose appetite for risk is genetic - does that mean we should stop saying "risk preferences" and (as a matter of civil rights) must stop legally favoring certain choices regarding risk?


Maybe this doesn't bother you at all. But the structure of your argument also supports anti-interracial marriage laws.

Blacks and whites are treated the same - both are free to marry people of the same race. Some may prefer not to do that, but they do have the legal right.


It's not my argument. I'm one of those wackos who believes the government should get out of the marriage game (i.e. I want to end straight marriage), stop favoring the immobile over the mobile, and stop favoring people with risk preferences that result in the purchase of health insurance.

I'm simply trying to square the standard left wing position that the government can and should regulate anything on the slightest pretext with the other standard left wing position that the government has no right to regulate gay sex. But somehow, in spite of regulation of gay sex being illegitimate, regulation of incest or polygamy is still perfectly legitimate.

Note that I'm attempting to reason from first principles here, not appeal to consequences.


But men and women are not treated the same; a man does not have the same set of people that they are free to marry as a woman does. Whether or not the motivation is to discriminate based on sexual orientation, the plain operation is to discriminate based on sex.


I can't tell if this is sublime satire.

Yes, your preference to have no fixed address is exactly the same as someone's genetic disposition about the gender they are attracted to. Having no fixed address likely enables negative effects like fraud. Same sex marriage likely enables… what, exactly?

How can you not see this is exactly the same argument as inter-racial marriage?


Suppose my preference for mobility is genetically informed. Does that mean "know your customer" laws are a violation of my civil rights? If sexual preferences turn out to be malleable by circumstances and are not genetic, would that make gay marriage restrictions acceptable? If not, then I don't see the relevance of genetic influences on human preference.

If you believe there is no fundamental principle preventing the state from regulating same sex marriage and the state merely needs a rational basis to do so, here is a very simple one. It incentivizes bisexuals to lean straight, thereby reducing the amount of gay sex and the transmission of STDs.

Note that I don't subscribe to the reasoning I just stated - that's just standard left wing political theory (which I don't agree with) applied to a scenario that left wing types refuse to apply it to.


"Gays and straights are treated the same - both are free to marry people of the opposite sex. Gays may prefer not to do that, but they do have the legal right."

That is a totally sociopathic argument, and you know it, and it makes you an asshole for having the nerve to make it.


> But someone who goes so far as to say no to gay marriage is basically saying they view that group of people as less than another group of people and should have less rights

Or they just think the practice of government marriage-sanctioning should be scrapped altogether, rather than extending the privilege to one more politically-popular group and pretending that you're ending discrimination.


  Or they just think the practice of government marriage-sanctioning should be scrapped altogether, rather than extending the privilege to one more politically-popular group and pretending that you're ending discrimination.
How noble of this demographic to sacrifice the marriage rights of others while they pursue their ultimate goal of removing government from such matters altogether!


If marriage is a form of personal expression, it shouldn't be regulated by the government. That's a very understandable position.


And, in the meantime we continue to deny an entire set of people rights they should have and bury our head in the sand to the current real world problems this poses.

Even if you hold the position you stated and wanted that change, we can't deny someone rights in the current system for some future better situation. There is an immediate and real world problem that needs to be addressed while you strive to implement your preferred system.


Except that when you put your energy into lobbying instead of going your own way and DIY, you're supporting the machine known as government and legitimizing its role as arbiter-of-all-that-is-good. When your campaign succeeds, it does so at the expense of pigeonholing the entire issue of unnecessary marriage regulation into the simplistic "gay marriage", and people consider the entire issue solved and look for the next thing to feel progressive about. But even worse, your narrow success then serves as an advertisement of the system working and covers up the fact that you're actually three steps back due to increased government intervention everywhere else.


Yeah, the "DIY" approach: ask all the gay couples out there who tried that with big expensive packages of legal documents that ended up being worth sweet fuck all precisely at the moment they needed it.

Part of the reason there is a push for gay marriage is because the alternatives (civil partnerships, "DIY" marriages using contracts) and they've failed to provide the necessary protections for couples in the way marriage rights seem to.

There is a compelling societal need to be able to say "here are people who are in an intimate, long-term trusting relationship for the purposes of decision making, finance, tax and so on".

I wish you luck in your campaign to find a compelling and convincing political and intellectual argument for something that would serve the social goods that marriage does and would effectively replace marriage for gay and straight couples. Until then, I'd quite like to be able to get married to someone of the gender I'm actually attracted to. (And as of Saturday, I will be able to, thanks to the marriage laws in England changing.)


The basis and functioning of the UK government seems quite different than that of the US. For better and for worse, a large part of the American foundation is the ability to abstain from involvement with government and go your own way. Treating USG as if it's an authoritative entity that has an ultimate say over any aspect of one's life erodes this ability, and we get left with the worst of both worlds - a broken system that we can't avoid (eg what happened with healthcare).

And yeah, making this argument widely compelling is going to take a lot more than luck. Immediate short-term realities tend to dominate over long-term abstract ideals.


If you really want marriage to be abolished or privatized or whatnot, you have a few million straight married people to convince...


"Be the change you wish to see in the world", and all that.

From my perspective, gay marriage petitioners seemingly wish to have a world where people have to beg the government for the ability associate in a certain manner.


That makes no sense.

Gay marriage petitioners are asking the government to remove a restriction - just not as many restrictions as you'd like.


Your summary of what Eich is "basically saying" seems misleading and intended to incite others. I am highly doubtful that he believes other people don't deserve the same rights he does but instead disagrees as to if certain things are right or privileges.

While I do not agree with Eich's views, framing the argument this way accomplishes nothing but fanning the fires. It makes one side feel oppressed and the other attacked. It puts everyone into a defensive mode rather focusing on the real issues. At worst it is manipulative at best it is close minded.


I think your best bet is to treat him as someone who is ignorant and afraid.

I moved to MA a decade ago. I wasn't sure what to expect with the legalization of gay marriage. (I support gay rights, voted in favor of gay marriage, have gay friends and family, etc., just like everybody else. The only reason I thought about it was because I had young children.) Answer: not much changed. No big deal. I didn't have to explain anything to my young children- turns out the kids worked it out for themselves.


I think that's good advice generally. That's certainly what I do when I'm dealing with, say, people on Facebook.

But having a boss who's ignorant and afraid? Maybe of you? That's some bad news.


No, he's probably not afraid of gay people, exactly, but is certainly ignorant of how gay people love. Often, though, once it gets humanized, this type of fear goes away.

So I'd say, give him a chance. Think of the win if he is convinced to change his mind.


  "One can not do right in one area of life whilst he is occupied in
  doing wrong in another. Life is one indivisible whole."
    - Ghandi
This is true of individual contributors, but it becomes progressively more relevant for people whose primary role is setting the vision for other people. The best companies tell the same story to their employees, investors, users, and journalists. Their people, products, marketing, and culture is one indivisible whole.

A homophobic CEO could run an oil company just fine. It's much harder to do that for Mozilla, where brand, community, and ethos is a much bigger point of differentiation than the products themselves.


Independent of Eich's wrongs, no human exists that is "right" in all areas of life.

A demand for someone who is right in all areas is how you get the blandest of all people in politics: they dare not utter an actual opinion lest the media snatch it up and hang them with it. So they say absolutely nothing with a whole lot of words.

I'd rather see actual humans in positions of power, struggles with life and all.


> No human exists that is "right" in all areas of life.

Being right in all areas of life is a personal and cultural struggle, a never-ending pursuit of an elusive destination. That much is obvious. Still, some people are further along on this path than others, and one would hope that these would be the people who occupy positions of power.


"Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone...."

Among other things, this is a hypocrisy issue. It has been unironically stated elsewhere in these comments that it is good to be intolerant of intolerance.

That can actually true, but it is hypocritical to be intolerant in the name of inclusiveness.


Intolerance of intolerance is a well known and thoroughly debated philosophical issue, and the consensus is that it's ethically justified, good for society, and not hypocritical.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

The tolerance paradox arises from a problem that a tolerant person might be antagonistic toward intolerance, hence intolerant of it. The tolerant individual would then be by definition intolerant of intolerance.

Michael Walzer asks "Should we tolerate the intolerant?" He notes that most minority religious groups who are the beneficiaries of tolerance are themselves intolerant, at least in some respects. In a tolerant regime, such people may learn to tolerate, or at least to behave "as if they possessed this virtue". Philosopher Karl Popper asserted, in The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol. 1, that we are warranted in refusing to tolerate intolerance. Philosopher John Rawls concludes in A Theory of Justice that a just society must tolerate the intolerant, for otherwise, the society would then itself be intolerant, and thus unjust. However, Rawls also insists, like Popper, that society has a reasonable right of self-preservation that supersedes the principle of tolerance: "While an intolerant sect does not itself have title to complain of intolerance, its freedom should be restricted only when the tolerant sincerely and with reason believe that their own security and that of the institutions of liberty are in danger."


I appreciate the idea of holistic morality, but if Gandhi's statement is true, then there's no such thing as a person who is doing right, since the number of ways you can be engaged in (and even habituated to) arguably unethical behavior is so great.


When looking to effect change, one has to build coalitions, which sometimes means picking battles.

If only this could have been the last word on this issue. I salute you, 'chimeracoder, for your fairness and rationality.

Was the recently-mooted "comment pre-approval" process delayed for some reason? If any HN comment thread could be rescued by that, surely this is one.


I wouldn't call denying certain groups of people rights a "political view". It's not a political view to say that a black person shouldn't be afforded the same rights as a white person...it's racism. Call Brandon what he is...a bigot. He believes that because of the way a person is born they don't deserve the same rights as himself. So, to answer your question, no you shouldn't support him no matter what views you have in common. And definitely don't give credence to this idea of denying a group of individuals rights by calling it a "political view"...it's bigotry plain and simple.


I did not know this was a thing. Wow. I don't care about how he donated his money to support Proposition 8, privately or publically, but monetarily and personally supporting discrimination is wrong.


The problem with blacklisting someone for a political view is that it can always be done. Right now, it's popular to call people who oppose gay marriage laws 'homophobes' and throw them under the bus. (In this thread, a lot of people seem to imply that Eich should have some sort of repercussions for his donation such as not getting this job.) Let's take a look at some other similar parallels:

- Saying people in favor of abortion are for legalized murder, and not hiring them because of that

- Saying people opposed to abortion oppress women, and not hiring them because of that

- Saying people who support raising taxes are for legalized robbery, and not hiring them because of that

- Saying people who oppose more relaxed immigration laws are racist, and not hiring them because of that

The list could go on, but the point stands. You can always characterize your political opponent as some sort of monster. But you never should.


Court after court has found that there is no rational basis for preventing gay marriage. Most recently, one in Michigan: http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4220110321.PDF

The parallels you offer are missing the point, because none of them suggest a CEO has an irrational bias against a significant fraction of his employees. This donation, though, does. Unless Eich has convincingly apologized and demonstrated different views, you have to bet that a lot of people in the San Francisco office and elsewhere are wondering, "Given that my new boss may have an irrational bias against me, is this going to affect my benefits, my chance at promotion, or my working climate?"

That's entirely material to his position as CEO. Mozilla is competing with the world's top tech companies for talent, and their main advantage is a clear belief that they're doing good. Anything that taints that could make hiring harder.


Courts were also in favor of putting Japanese people in internment camps at one point. It doesn't make them right.

If people don't want to work for Mozilla because of Eich, fantastic. They can form their own foundation and work on Iceweasel. Everybody gets what they want.


The argument that since courts were wrong once we needn't consider anything any of them ever say is so absurd that I hope you're trolling here.


Speaking of trolling, I didn't say that at all. I was pointing out that an appeal to court precedent is a form of appeal to authority, which is hardly convincing, with numerous counter-examples available upon request.

Perhaps the actual reasoning of the court might be convincing, but in this case, the reasoning was, "there is no rational basis", which reads more like an admission of ignorance than anything else.


I'm not appealing to the court's authority. So that you and others can see the reasoning, I'm pointing you at a carefully-considered legal opinion by a federal judge. One similar to others on the topic, like Judge Walker's decision on Prop 8. Hand-wave it away if you like, but the rational-basis standard [1] is a key legal concept here.

When court after court finds that there is no rational basis to these laws after carefully examining every rationale offered by proponents, I think it's reasonable for gay people to conclude that promoters of those laws are irrationally biased against them. Especially those promoters unwilling to offer any other explanation.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_basis_review


Except the "proponents" in this case did not include the people who put forward this referendum in the first place. Instead, the referendum bypassed the California government to put the issue to a popular vote. When the popular vote was challenged in court, the government lawyers had no incentive to put up a good defense, which they didn't.

It's really a loophole in the referendum system, and if California is serious about the referendum, they need to give standing to some groups to give them the right to defend their initiatives in court.


Incorrect. The state declined to defend, so the proposition proponents were the ones who defended it in court: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollingsworth_v._Perry#Defendan...

Even if you were right, that wouldn't be the case for the Michigan case I linked upthread, where state officials stood firmly behind keeping gay people from marriage.


From your wiki link:

"The Supreme Court decided the case on the basis of lack of standing."

...meaning the proponents weren't allowed to defend it in court.

I've already stated my feelings about the ruling in the Michigan. In fact, I have deep misgivings about the kind of research presented in that case on both sides, especially when it comes to making policy decisions.


The proponents did defend it in federal court. They lost.

It's true that the Supreme Court wasn't interesting in hearing from them again, but there is absolutely nothing to suggest that if they had, it would have turned out as anything different than their disastrous showing in federal court. Remember, they were going to the Supreme Court seeking appeal, which means they don't get to re-litigate the whole thing, just to raise questions about particular points of law. The findings of fact would stand, and as far as facts went, they had nothing.


This is all true, but is there not a possibility that Eich having invented one of the world's most popular programming languages might out-weigh these factors in the minds of people who are evaluating whether they'd like to work with/for him? If you're arguing that Eich should not have the job on pragmatic (rather than purely principled) grounds then you'd need to consider such other factors.


Freditup was asking why this is different than questioning a CEO's political views on abortion. My answer: because his donation suggests an irrational bias against his employees.

I'm not arguing that Eich should or should not have the job. I don't have enough data to say. But I am saying that apparently having an irrational bias against gay people is legitimately problematic for gay employees, and is therefore material in considering his fitness for CEO in a way that isn't true for other political views.


It's actually an interesting question: When does a political opinion become untenable?

Slavery was once a political opinion. Women's suffrage as well. There are many other more extreme examples from abroad.

Calling a position political doesn't absolve its owner from consequences.

I think in the Bay Area, opposing gay marriage has crossed over, and is no longer simply a political opinion upon which decent people may disagree.


I think you're right that this is the actual question. Perhaps to my original posts detriment, there obviously does come a time when holding a particular position on an issue is unacceptable. For example, as pointed out many times here, being against interracial marriage in modern times.

I think in America the issue hasn't crossed over yet, but those in favor of gay marriage wish it has, because it's always nice to be on the superior side, and makes the argument much easier when you can just call your opponent a few names to send them scurrying away. Essentially, those who agree with gay marriage ran out of patience with those who disagree. I think on 'live' political issues like the gay marriage debate, this is bad.

I also think those against gay marriage would do better if making an honest argument about their reasoning. For example: "Gay marriage is morally wrong in my opinion, and I believe the government should legislate on moral sexual issues." It's legitimate to think a government can and should have the authority to legislate on moral issues.


and is no longer simply a political opinion upon which decent people may disagree.

So....what shall be done with the people who have been deemed indecent?

Rounded up, perhaps? Subjected to re-education?


No, they'll simply deny they ever held the view in a few years, all on their own. See: Segregation.


Why might they do that, theoretically speaking?

Edit: A downvote for asking a question? Really? Is the answer that terrifying?


Hopefully because they'll no longer be able to justify - even to themselves - why they thought those views made sense in the first place.


Because they'll be socially shunned by people who find their views to be embarrassing.


Is shame, then, the way social issues should be addressed?


Separating this sort of stuff into "social issues" is I think an incorrect way to look at it.

We're talking about changing normative group positions in a complex society that has delegated huge swaths of norm policing to immensely powerful institutions.

So, shame is one way. You have to make it shameful in the first place - and then you still have to change the institutions.


>When does a political opinion become untenable?

Never? People should be judged by how qualified they are, not what their political views are. Even if I was hiring a vocal neo-nazi I would try to not let that effect my decision.


I could not disagree more. Hiring the neo-nazi as the CEO of a major corporation who will make decisions that will directly effect the lives of anyone working for that corporation and of those who use the corporation's products is promoting those beliefs. It is saying that, despite you taking actions to strip away basic human rights of groups of people, we want you to represent us.

These are the decisions that lead to corporations acting greedy and caring only about their bottom line. We should not be promoting this way of thinking. Some things are more important. The more someone's actions can impact other people, the more they should be judged by their character.


As someone who opposes all marriage, I am sad to learn that I should not be hired.


I'm very tired of this brand of relativism that is unfortunately rather popular in tech circles, no matter how progressive we like to think ourselves.

"Similar Parallels"

No, there is a looooong gradient along which the issues you mention (and issues like homophobia) can be placed. Society moves in a certain direction - if you graph public attitude towards homosexuals, there is a clear trend. Similar graphs can be drawn for abortion, womens rights and immigration reform.

On the other hand, directly equating "raising taxes" with robbery sits at a very steady equilibrium of whoever currently uses that sort of logic to kill arguments. Most recently (ie. past couple of years), it is mostly being picked up by the libertarian mindset which is in turn utilized by the more mainstream political right in the US.

We all make choices and our combined choices influence how that graph progresses, but you can directly compare an individuals position with the median position in society. Removing or blocking people from powerful positions when they seem to be too removed from that median is a fundamentally and democratically sound mechanic.


There's only a "clear trend" on homosexuality if you limit your timeframe.

Attitudes toward homosexuality in ancient Greece, for example, were pretty liberal. They were also really different from anything we have today, such that it defies putting it anywhere on a spectrum that modern folks would be familiar with.

Society moves in many directions, often simultaneously, and we should be careful not to confuse the movement of the last century or so with either inevitability or rightness.

(I personally think that consenting adults should be allowed to have whatever sort of sex and marriage they feel like, I just object to the idea that there's a clear trend on the issue overall.)


> Attitudes toward homosexuality in ancient Greece, for example, were pretty liberal.

As they were in India. That's why it's usually more instructive to look at the median, rather than the outliers.

Furthermore: It's debatable to what extent it makes sense to include historical timeframes on which we have lacking or inconclusive data.


How much of history do we really have good data on it, though? How do you figure out the median with so much missing data?

All in all, it sounds like you're agreeing with me: it's wrong to claim a trend.


> All in all, it sounds like you're agreeing with me: it's wrong to claim a trend.

I'm undecided, but leaning towards seeing a trend (yes, even with historical uncertainties). I'm absolutely willing, though, to attest that to the fact that I'm seeing a trend that would suit me.


I don't see any problem at all with pointing out a local trend. Abolition, women's suffrage, civil rights, desegregation, women's rights, gay rights - in every case, a low-status class of people promoted to more equal rights. Also, in every case, xenophobia replaced by inclusion.

Just because half the population is still dragging their heels about the latest oppressed group to get this kind of attention, like they always do, does not mean that there's anything special or more complicated about this case. It's still privileged people being asses to less privileged people for as long as they can possibly get away with. Like they always do. Imagine if people could be accepting in the general case, without being dragged to it?


I agree that there's no problem with pointing out a local trend, but I didn't read it as being local in the original comment. Statements like "Society moves in a certain direction" make it sound like a statement that's supposed to apply universally, and it very much does not.

Sure, all of your examples point in the same direction, because you chose examples that point in that direction. There are plenty of examples to be had of the opposite direction.

We happen to be in a locale, both in space and time, where there's a strong trend towards more inclusion and more rights. But if you expand out to the planet and the long term, I simply don't see the trend. Things get better in some times and places, and worse in others, and overall we just sort of oscillate around.


Except in this case, the median Californian voted for Prop 8.


That's besides the point: My argument is that we need to understand it in a historical context.

52% of Californians voted for Prop 8 in 2008. But: Had you asked 10, 25, 50, 100 years before that, what would the outcome have been? Draw a graph along that line through 2008 and you can track the development of public opinion.


Except I disagree that blacklisting people for political views is a valid democratic mechanism.

You're basically making the "be on the right side of history" argument, but you presume to much. For example public opinion on abortion has been roughly flat for fifty years.


> For example public opinion on abortion has been roughly flat for fifty years.

Maybe in the US, but internationally is another matter entirely.

Also: I'm not agreeing with your wording of "blacklisting people for political views". I do, however, think that the higher your potential impact on society, the higher the scrutiny towards the outlier nature of some of your opinions should be.

In other words: The further up an employee in a company or a politician in the respective political field moves on their ladder, the more is it justified to hold them closer to the standard set by median public opinion on certain matters.


U.S. abortion law is far to the left of even Western Europe. And there was never a legislative action in the U.S. that legalized abortion per se. Instead, it was a very controversial court decision. This has clearly frozen and polarized the debate. It's not out of the realm of possibilities the same could happen in the gay marriage debate.


So now anyone who opposes gay marriage is homophobic? You do know that homophobia is defined as "an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people." (New Oxford American Dictionary)

Edit: Clearly I touched a nerve - before the hate mail comes in, I should clarify that I don't oppose gay marriage. I support the elimination of government sponsored marriage all together.


Precisely. There is no rational[1] grounds to oppose gay marriage, so we are left with the only remaining possibility - irrational aversion to homosexuality.

[1] where by "rational" I mean justifiable with facts and statistics to back it up.


It's marriage. It's a tradition, not something which you can derive rationally. Let's hear your rational explanation of the role of marriage. Be sure to explain why it follows logically that it should only apply to groups of two or more.

If you're honest with yourself, you recognize all of this language about rationality as rhetoric in a culture war in which you're attempting to shift cultural norms.

I'm for gay marriage.


Marriage is not solely a tradition, or there wouldn't be a problem here, as anybody could claim themselves to be married and the world would go on. Instead, it's tied heavily into the legal system, as well as into policies of organisations across the world.

When people say that gay people are not to marry their partners, that is discrimination under the legal system, entirely ignoring any cultural aspects.


Religious marriage may be a tradition. Civil marriage, though, isn't, and that's what's at stake here. For the full reasoning, See page 25 of Friday's federal court decision on Michigan's anti-gay-marriage amendment: http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4220110321.PDF

It's the "Tradition and Morality" section.


In the United States, the tradition of marriage excluded interracial marriage until rather recently as well. Just because something is a tradition doesn't mean it morally right.


https://brendaneich.com/2012/04/community-and-diversity/

... the donation does not in itself constitute evidence of animosity. Those asserting this are not providing a reasoned argument, rather they are labeling dissenters to cast them out of polite society. To such assertions, I can only respond: “no”.

There are other reasons for opposing things, religious reasons for example. Not saying they're well thought out or even remotely valid, but thinking in such a black and white manner isn't beneficial to decent conversation.


You're saying that if I have a religious reason for harming you, then you'll be happy to treat that harm as a good-faith action, and propose "decent conversation" with me?


Of course not, but then again I don't consider intentional physical harm & objections to marriage even remotely comparable situations.

Latent effects of refusing marriage like lack of insurance coverage leading to preventable deaths would be a much better match though. And to that, I still believe conversation is a better tool than outright condemnation & intolerance.


No idea where "intentional physical harm" came from, but it wasn't me.

Preventing a family from getting married is harm. It is at the very least expensive in time and money. But it also puts children at substantial risk. See the recent decision on the Michigan Marriage Amendment for more on that: http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4220110321.PDF


Sorry, I took 'harming you' as meaning physical harm, that's my mistake.


> thinking in such a black and white manner isn't beneficial to decent conversation.

Should having "decent conversation" be the goal?

Because I prioritise not being discriminated against by my government because of my sexual orientation slightly higher than having a decent conversation.


Why should Brendan Eich or anyone else who supported Prop 8 share any of their views when they have already been pre-judged as irrational?

Stuff like this is why the secret ballot exists.


Because, obviously, Eich is a witch and must be burned.


The real issue for some folks is that "marriage" is a word defined by their religion. (not for you or me, but some folks)

If government ditched the word "marriage" and said you can designate a person you "cohabit" with for purposes of taxes, benefits, etc, how many of those folks would be against designating someone of the same gender? Those people I'd call "homophobic".


Government has as much right to the word as religions, it's not like religions invented marriages. The catholic church, for instance, only took over marriage during the middle ages. Historically,

> marriage vows did not have to be exchanged in a church, nor was a priest's presence required. A couple could exchange consent anywhere, anytime.

For the first quarter of the common era, the church was split between trying to get the church involved in marriages (e.g. Tertullian recommending that christians "request marriage from their priest") and recommending eternal celibacy and virginity. Augustine and Isodore of Seville developed the sacramentality of Christian marriage (Augustine at least still taught that virginity remained superior).

The official catholic declaration of marriage as a sacrament (and thus declaration of the takeover) was actually political: it was made at the Council of Verona in 1184 as part of the case against Cathars, who held that marriage and procreation were evil.

The case for marriage belonging to religions is "it's been that way for as long as I've lived". Previously in that category: slavery, illegal abortions, children labour and lots of other awesome company.


You hit the nail on the head with marriage definitions.

A bigger problem, not admitted by the religious side of this debate, is that the legal definition of marriage is what grants many states rights. To some extent that some states would have to rewrite their constitutions to no longer honor marriage as an institution.

I don't think the end game legally would end very well for the people stating that "marriage" is a religious term. It might be in common speech, but given we're talking about granting legal rights its about as relevant as ice cubes to an eskimo. Push this matter too hard and its likely that marriage as a legal term or definition goes away entirely.

I'm all for it but pushing the religious points too far will only cause more issues for those fighting via that angle. (no i'm not a lawyer)


Rationality is not the only factor we should look at.

Think of having sex with 12 years old girls - there is nothing irrational in it (it was normal and legal a few hundred years ago), why we keep it forbidden now?

Similarly it is not legal to merry 4 woman (or man). Why? Where is rationality in forbidding this. In fact rational is the opposite - it would be good to have spare wife or husband, just in case of death or ilness.


> Think of having sex with 12 years old girls - there is nothing irrational in it (it was normal and legal a few hundred years ago), why we keep it forbidden now?

Since the beginning of the Industrial Age, we've lengthened human childhood. Because people have more to learn today before they can be productive adults in society, the period of your life that is "youth" is longer, and the age where we consider a person mature enough to be fully responsible for their own body is older now.

12 year olds used to be adults, now they're children.

> Similarly it is not legal to merry 4 woman (or man). Why? Where is rationality in forbidding this. In fact rational is the opposite - it would be good to have spare wife or husband, just in case of death or ilness.

If there was complete gender equality and polygamy was as common as polyandry, it would be probably be fine. In reality, polygamy is historically dramatically more common than wives with multiple husbands.

If you take as a given a roughly 50/50 distribution between men and women (and relatively even proportions of homosexuals), that means widespread polygamy causes a large number of men for whom there are no wives available. If one person has five wives, it means there are four men out there with none.

That has a destabilizing effect on society. It's best for everyone if the possibility of finding a mate is not hampered in that way.


Well, if you're arguing about the length of childhood (which IMHO shouldn't be the basis for age of consent, decision-making maturity should be), then we have not lengthened human childhood.

Socially, we've delayed the age when youngsters achieve self-sufficiency, start working, etc; but instead of prolonging "youth" currently our habits (most likely due to food industry) have achieved earlier age of puberty than before; biologically those kids are maturing sooner for having kids of their own.


Regarding polygamy, we would have to rewrite all sorts of laws (inheritance laws, laws detailing benefits to spouses, etc.) with multi-partner marriages in mind.


I think this is the real answer. I don't know that it's an insoluble problem, but it's a very hard one, compounded by the absence of a pre-existing societal consensus on what would be reasonable and fair.


To be pedantic, it should be noted that the contrast to polyandry I believe you're looking for is 'polygyny'. PolyGAmy refers to any practice of having more than one spouse, regardless of gender.


Bullshit. Glad to see you lump people who don't want government in the marriage business at all with homophobics. Believe it or not, these people exist.


That justification is what is bullshit. We're talking about support for Prop 8. If Prop 8 was about getting the government out of all marriage, you would have a point. But Prop 8 was about removing the ability for a specific group of people to marry while still keeping the government in all other marriages.


> Believe it or not, these people exist.

Their position makes even less sense than the other one, the creation of stable family units, and thus the provision of legal and financial advantages to these units trough official recognition of them is usually considered a social good, and the government "being involved" as the provider of the aforementioned advantages is sensible.


Right because government marriage is really doing a great job at that with its >50% divorce rate. Of course there's also the fact that your position is incredibly unimaginative - you can't imagine there are other systems of social organization, other than government licensed marriage, that might be an even greater public good? As long as we keep promoting the paradigm of government sponsored marriage we'll keep going down the same rabbit hole.


That's a very bizarre argument to have. What does the government have to do with the stability of a relationship?


A lot. By giving incentives, both explicit (taxes, pensions, medical benefits) and implicit (encouraging a social construct through government enforcement of licenses and contracts) government encourages people to get married or stay together who possibly wouldn't otherwise. It probably doesn't make up 90% of the decision, but it may be enough to tip the scales one way or the other.

Edit: Or get divorced for that matter - divorce laws enforced by government (which only exist because it licenses marriages in the first place) have a big impact on who gets divorced.


I'm not really buying the argument that government-provided benefits are enough of a "bribe" to be a significant factor for why people are getting married. Indeed, marriage rates (at least in Europe) show a net decline. My guess is that it is primarily an effect of looser social pressure (it is considered normal, even in more conservative areas, to live as a steady couple without being married), which also correlate with a decline of religious attendance.

So the tax-provided incentives are clearly not sufficient to compensate for this decline, and I really doubt they contribute significantly in most cases.


It's well known that government incentives tip the scale in favor of some more marriages. It's the reason the incentives were created in the first place, obviously! But if you can't follow that line of reasoning, you're welcome to read papers that are tangentially related and prove the the point of how strongly influenced by economics/finances marriages are:

http://www.nber.org/c7282.pdf http://www.nber.org/chapters/c3683 http://www.nber.org/papers/w7510

It's also what my Public Economics professor said back in the day in college... and he was a smart dude.

Also, you're ignoring most of the argument - it's not just about the tax incentive - it's about all of the incentives that government licensed marriage creates. Re-read my prior comments throughout this whole discussion if you don't know what I mean.


> It's well known that government incentives tip the scale in favor of some more marriages. It's the reason the incentives were created in the first place, obviously!

It is? First off, the fact that a policy has been put in place is no evidence that it actually works (see also "trickle down economics" and "abstinence-based sex programs"). Secondly, it's difficult to argue about the purpose of the incentives outside of a historical context. The best I've been able to find is regarding the tax part of the incentives: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/bg145?pg=2 It does not appear to be part of a nefarious plot to get more people married.

> you're welcome to read papers that are tangentially related and prove the the point of how strongly influenced by economics/finances marriages are

After skimming the papers, my understanding is that they demonstrate that for a number of women, the social condition of their prospective husband is a huge motivational factor. That is fine and well, but what does it have to do with the state? I'm sure you could find the same studies regarding unmarried couples. I haven't found any mention of government incentives in them, but I may have overlooked something.

> Also, you're ignoring most of the argument - it's not just about the tax incentive - it's about all of the incentives that government licensed marriage creates. Re-read my prior comments throughout this whole discussion if you don't know what I mean.

You are correct that I focused on the tax incentives, as I see that as the most visible of the government-provided incentives. Let's look at the other benefits you list:

> (taxes, pensions, medical benefits) and implicit (encouraging a social construct through government enforcement of licenses and contracts)

I'm not aware of any pension-related advantage of married couples where I live, and there is certainly no medical benefits in a land of socialized healthcare. Is this a US thing? As for the implicit benefits, I'm not entirely clear on what you mean. Are you objecting to the existence of a legal framework formalizing the rights of each party?


Assuming that your position is correct, how is fighting against gay marriage a good for anybody and at all productive? From what I can see, it serves to divert resources from your stated purpose, needlessly antagonises people who might support said purpose and serves to maintain a right-less underclass. And no the latter's not going to fight for your purpose since they're busy fighting for equal rights.


Like I said - I don't oppose gay marriage - but the argument could be made that by establishing government licensed marriage as "something worth fighting for" it further entrenches the notion that government licensed marriage is a positive social construct.


> the argument could be made that by establishing government licensed marriage as "something worth fighting for" it further entrenches the notion that government licensed marriage is a positive social construct.

But that's a completely useless and unproductive argument to make in the context of the fight being underway, let alone making it while fighting on the other side.


Let alone making it with a sentence in the form of: "Bla bla bla, BUT something that directly contradicts bla bla bla."


> So now anyone who opposes gay marriage is homophobic?

Yup, same as anyone who opposes interracial marriage is racist.

There's not a minimum threshold of bigotry. You don't get to say "How bigoted can I be without people calling me a bigot? ...I can't be bigoted at all?!? That's not fair!"


Yeah, no. That's an impossible standard.

How do you feel about abortion? If you're against it, then you are seen as bigoted against women's right to their own body. If you're for it, then you're seen as bigoted against the rights of unborn children to not be murdered.

And even if you could think that way, you shouldn't. Why not? Read http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html for why I don't want to put such mental blinders on.


No. The abortion analogy is terrible. Abortion is a muddy issue because it pits the rights of the mother against the rights of the fetus. The crux of the argument basically comes down to whether one believes that a fetus should have the same legal protections as a human. If the mother is forced to carry the pregnancy to term, she loses the freedom to make her own medical decisions, if she is allowed to terminate her pregnancy, then the fetus will never be born. We have not yet devised a way to resolve this conflict.

Contrast this with the gay marriage debate. There is no conflict. Gay marriage does not affect its opponents in any capacity. A married gay couple does not infringe on anybody else's right to be married. Opposition to gay marriage is completely arbitrary and rooted in discrimination in all cases, there just isn't any reason why one should care, and even less of a reason why the government should take that judgement into consideration. Any religious, traditional, or cultural opposition to gay marriage is completely moot since marriage is not even real thing, it's simply a legal status with the same name as a historical tradition.


My point is about bigotry, not gay marriage. The muddiness of the issue is part of the point, we all have opinions on rights that should exist, and it is easy to throw the word "bigot" at anyone who disagrees with us. Therefore a blanket dismissal of all forms of bigotry easily becomes a straightjacket that limits our ability to think. Take that one step farther and you wind up with silliness such as an unwillingness to discuss obvious gender mental differences such as the differential performance under the Piaget water level test. (See http://books.google.com/books?id=ocl5AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA130&lpg=P... in the likely event that you don't know what I am talking about.) And that leads to things like Larry Summers getting fired over fallout from his discussing the best available research on a controversial topic.

Therefore I'm against a blanket, "You're not allowed any trace of bigotry." Strongly against it. It limits people's ability to think.

Now I can see you responding that this example has nothing to do with gay marriage. So let me give a real example tying that one.

My opinion is that homophobia ties to the uncanny valley (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley for what THAT is) which is the feeling of revulsion that virtually all of us have for the "almost human". (Different people having different definitions of "almost".) Having broached the topic, we can discuss emotional reactions to other races, disabled people, various disfigurements, and the ways in which horror movies play on the natural phenomena.

But wait, what can of worms did I just open? I suggested a connection between widespread homophobia and an innate phenomena that causes the vast majority of humans to feel revulsion under the right circumstances. And it is a pretty strong revulsion - seeing that which you dislike will, like it or not, be about as palatable as stepping in a pile of shit. This really does affect others. (If you argue that it affects others because they are bigots, I can't disagree...but a lot of people are so affected.)

Pretty much everyone who I've really had the conversation with has wound up realizing at some point that there is stuff which they personally respond with revulsion. And some of that stuff results in their having trouble not discriminating. You can try to consciously try not to act on that revulsion, which usually leads to an overreaction and reverse discrimination. But the roots of at least some sorts of bigotry are something that seems to be built in to pretty much all of us - certainly me included.

But if you've conceptualized anyone who has any trace of bigotry as unequivocally bad, then this is not a conversation that you're able to have. Because at some point you're going to have to face ways that you resemble people you don't like.

And THAT is an example of why I don't want the mental blinders that keep me from even trying to think about homophobic people in terms that are more sophisticated than, "They are awful people."

(For the record, I am straight, I am not homophobic, and I voted against prop 8. Also my sister has some gay friends who wish I'd reconsider the "straight" bit...)


Take that one step farther and you wind up with silliness such as an unwillingness to discuss obvious gender mental differences such as the differential performance under the Piaget water level test

So what? The veracity of scientific studies is not at issue here. My point is that unlike the abortion debate, there are no muddy waters in play here. It's unequivocally wrong to deny homosexual couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, there is just no other reason beyond bigotry to deny them the freedom to be married. I'm not saying that we should hunt down all the bigots, I'm saying that bigotry alone is not a satisfactory justification for any position and is easily rejected as such.

But wait, what can of worms did I just open? I suggested a connection between widespread homophobia and an innate phenomena that causes the vast majority of humans to feel revulsion under the right circumstances. And it is a pretty strong revulsion

Ok... Perhaps that's a possible explanation, it's also a completely irreverent one. I am revolted by the sight of individuals who put 4 inch gauges in their ears, but that personal disgust doesn't justify an attack on their right to start a consensual legal relationship with another consenting adult. My disgust doesn't matter. Their relationship is none of my business. Laws against gay marriage are in a similar vein to sodomy laws, namely, a bunch of hateful, entitled, "revolted" traditionalists who want to leverage the force of the government to prevent consenting adults from living their lives in a way that affects nobody but themselves. It's simply wrong. There are no two ways about it, nobody gains anything by keeping homosexuals away from marriage, it's only purpose is to deliberately deny homosexual couples the satisfaction of inclusion in a legally recognized institution.


My point is not the veracity of scientific studies. My point is that a blanket rejection of all forms of bigotry creates an emotional barrier to useful discussion of those studies. Whole avenues of research are cut off as verboten.

Furthermore what you are stating is your personal opinion that a sense of revulsion and disgust is not a valid source of moral opinions. But now you're opening another can of worms. Preliminary results from brain research have identified 5 different subsystems in our brain that underly opinions that get called "moral". Those 5 systems are:

1. Recognition of suffering in others.

2. Reciprocity (the golden rule).

3. Hierarchy (respect for elders, power systems, etc).

4. Coalitionary bonding (loyalty to your group, patriotism, etc).

5. Purity (praising cleanliness, viewing things as gross).

In general liberal moral systems tend to focus on the first 2 and conservative moral systems tend to focus on the last 3. As much as you think that revulsion and disgust are not proper bases for moral opinions, most of the world disagrees with you. And if you want to live in a democracy, you're going to have to live with results that you don't like. Furthermore no amount of complaining on your part is going to change this inconvenient truth.


You cannot conflate bigotry with homophobia.

People may simple be bigoted towards gay marriage, but hold no strong opinion on the individuals themselves. That this is a possible stance is self-evident given the current legal situation.


How would you react to the statement "I'm not racist, I just don't think blacks and whites should be allowed to marry"?

If you oppose equal civil rights for group X, you are bigoted against group X. There are certainly different degrees of bigots--I'd much rather deal with someone who favors most civil rights other than interracial marriage than someone who thinks black people were better off as slaves--but they are all still bigots.


> You cannot conflate bigotry with homophobia.

If their specific bigotry is homophobic, why would they not be conflatable?

I mean people may simple be bigoted towards interracial marriage, but hold no strong opinion on the individuals themselves. That this is a possible stance is self-evident given the current legal situation. (and apparently not at all racist)


> So now anyone who opposes gay marriage is homophobic?

Yes,like anyone who opposed civil rights for blacks was racist.


It is actually interesting that you should bring this up. I am opposed to slavery, and I am for the civil rights of all, but what about those people who are opposed to certain outcomes of the civil rights movement, like affirmative action, because they believe it undermined the principle of equality before the law and created legal privileges for certain groups in order to try and eliminate certain material inequalities? What if they simply believed that such legislation lacked a clear definition for success, and thus opened the gateway for future oppression in the reverse?

To take it even further, what if someone thought that the civil war was not (primarily) about the rights of African slaves, but rather a proxy for a rivalry between two political factions? Does the Union treatment of Native Americans suggest they were overflowing with humanitarian sentiment when it came to dealing with non-WASP peoples in general?

It's important to ask such questions, because the Union of the 1800's, and the political supporters of the civil rights movements of the 1900's, could have in fact been harmful to the very people they were claiming to help, because helping them was never their true goal. I am not saying that such people were consciously manipulative, rather it was simply easy for them to use the cause of others as a justification for actions that benefited themselves.

Likewise, could it be that Mr. Eich was not against the rights of homosexual people, but rather attempting to resist another political faction's attempt to control the moral narrative? Based upon his own statements, as well as the statements by those who have worked with him who are homosexual, I see no indication of malice. Furthermore, since he has been with Mozilla since the beginning, it would stand to reason that if he had a significant opposition to the organizations policies, he would have left long ago.


> anyone who opposed civil rights for blacks

Or interracial marriages, since that's much closer to the issue.


Comparing the horrendous and brutal treatment of African Americans during slavery and the civil rights struggle to someone peaceably disagreeing with a person's lifestyle or voting for a proposition is nowhere close to a fitting comparison and is downright disrespectful of the suffering of black people.

It is plastered everywhere as a superficial emotional argument but it is logically baseless and, worse, it is hijacking the compassion people rightfully have for the suffering of black people in order to push a particular agenda. It's shameful.

Of course, I expect to be downvoted because I know that in our current society all opinions and preferences should be held in the highest regard, except those you disagree with and especially those that appeal to an objective morality.


Someone purporting that gay couples should not be allowed to marry are homophobic just like someone purporting that blacks should not be allowed at the front of the bus are racist bigots.


I'd say that working to keep a group of people from gaining rights that I already have are extreme and irrational.


Bigoted ...was the word he was looking for.


I too have a hard time accepting that in our Enlightened Year of 2014, an individual is allowed to commit such brash thoughtcrime with impunity. I presume that shortly they will be checking his standing with the parties and that's the last we'll be forced to hear from him! I, for one, am looking forward the remainder of his ilk finally being liquidated so that I can think my own thoughts in peace.


it doesn't really fit with the image Mozilla tries to present of themselves

Personally I think the company's ethos is consistent with NOT suppressing freedom of speech or political expression.


No one is saying he shouldn't have been allowed to donate money to prop 8. Freedom of speech means you are allowed to say whatever you want (i.e. saying something should not be a crime punishable by the government).

That does not mean that everything you say should be void of consequence in the realm of public opinion. I for one am glad that Brendan Eich was allowed to make this donation. Now I know that he stands for a position I view as indefensible, and I can choose to remain far away from him and the company he now leads.


Not making someone CEO is suppressing freedom of speech? Can I be CEO of your company, or are you trying to suppress my views?


In what way? If anything, I'd think they support it.


Mozilla supports freedom of speech and the free expression of political beliefs. Thus it is consistent with their corporate ethos to hire/promote someone who has "divergent" political or personal beliefs. That's what bdcravens is saying


I misread "suppressing" as "supporting". Oops.


No one ever changed their opinion on account of being subjected to a lynch mob or encountering a glass ceiling imposed as a result of it.

If you disagree with B.E. then be an example to him of what you hope to achieve: mutual tolerance. Hounding does not achieve anything except increasing animosity all round.


"No one ever changed their opinion on account of being subjected to a lynch mob or encountering a glass ceiling imposed as a result of it."

That's the most unfactual thing I've heard in a long time.


Is that really the right way to go about things though?


Sorry but no one is supposed to tolerate intolerance.


So can I be intolerant of that? Or can the irony only go one level deep?


I wonder, what part of "speaking up against a person who wants your rights taken away" disturbs you? As long as "not tolerating to intolerance" doesn't mean taking away his rights, I don't see the problem.


Death to the intolerant!


Why is it acceptable to limit the range of political views someone in this position is allowed to have? I lived in CA in 2008 and voted against Prop 8 but I didn't dehumanize the people who disagreed with me, I couldn't have handled the irony of it.


It's not ironic to not be tolerant of intolerance.


Hating, say, religious fundamentalists is exactly as bad as hating homosexuals - hate is hate; intolerance is intolerance.

You can say "I think that all people should be treated equally", but saying "I think that all people people should be treated equally, but those who believe X are unfit to be CEO for a public company" is hypocritical. No matter what X is, and if I agree or disagree with X.


Agreed. But it's hypocritical to be intolerant in the name of inclusiveness.


Legend has it that when critics of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant complained to President Abraham Lincoln about Grant's drinking, Lincoln replied, "I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals."

Lincoln knew that Grant's drinking was a problem, but he also knew that Grant was the best man for the job. In fact, he had appointed several other generals before Grant who were "well-rounded" with no obvious flaws, but this grossly backfired because they also had no strengths that stood out. In contrast, the South employed generals who were really really good at a few things(and bad at lots of things), and they gave the North a really hard time despite having inferior numbers and equipment.


Oh noes! Someone whose political beliefs differ from my own! Burn the infidel!


Actively working to restrict the rights of a marginalized population goes beyond simply holding a personal belief. He is free to donate to whatever anti-gay cause he wishes, but we are also free to hold him accountable for it.


Anti-gay? He's against gay marriage, hardly being anti-gay.


Here's a thought experiment for you. Let's say that a black woman and a white man want to get married, but there's a law on the books that says that people of different ethnicities can't get married. Would you say that this is a racist law? Would you say that it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment?

Anti-miscegenation laws were deemed constitutional in the United States until 1967 when the SCOTUS ruled on the aptly named Loving v. Virginia. Today, this case is cited as precedent for overturning gay marriage bans across the United States.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia


I'm getting tired of seeing this interracial marriage argument here: they are in fact completely different. The movement against opposition to interracial marriage was an acceptance that there was no substantive difference between a black man/white man or black woman/white woman. One cannot say that there is "obviously" no substantive differences between a man and a woman, even if we restrict our consideration to the context of love. You can certainly argue that there aren't, but this conclusion does not follow from the conclusion regarding interracial marriage.


The reason you're getting tired of seeing this interracial marriage argument is because it demonstrates that your weak unconvincing arguments in support of bigotry against gays are the same as other people's weak unconvincing arguments in support of bigotry against mixed race couples. The reason you are tired is that you are wrong and on the wrong side of history, and you're wasting your energy fighting an uphill losing battle.

So stop complaining that people arguing for marriage equality are making you tired by pointing out that you're no better than bigots who argue against mixed race marriage. People's right to marry the partner they love trumps your right not to be tired of making weak unconvincing arguments. You are not the victim here.


I made a very clear argument as to why an argument against banning interracial marriage says nothing regarding the question of same sex marriage. Instead of addressing my argument head on you respond with the usual emotional non-arguments.

Also note that I never made an argument for or against gay marriage, I simply argued that your argument itself is faulty. People seem to be incapable of distinguishing between the two. Perhaps I'm a rare breed, but I will argue against bad arguments for a conclusion I agree with.

You guys are losing people by attempting to hitch the gay rights wagon onto the civil rights wagon. One does not immediately follow from the other.


Banning interracial marriage is ludicrous and bigoted. Also, it's not the same thing at all.


Banning gay marriage is ludicrous and bigoted. Also, it is the same thing at all.


Just because I'm succinct doesn't mean my assertions of fact are less valid than the rest of them. I'll gladly go into more detail when I feel like I'll be given a fair hearing.


Just because I disagree wholeheartedly with you doesn't mean I'm not curious. Please go into more detail.


The gist of the argument is that it's a false equivalence. It's not a radical view -- it is supported by a majority of Californians (certainly a progressive state). Unfortunately, judging from the downvotes I'm getting, this forum isn't as inclusive as it would like to be.


Regarding California: this is simply not true any longer. A poll conducted over a year ago found that over 60% of California RVs support legalizing gay marriage: http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/fivethirtyeight/2013/03/01/p...

Please explain why you believe that this is a false equivalence.


Regardless of the precise numbers, a large chunk of one of the most progressive states in the U.S. thinks that it's not the same thing, so it's not a fringe position. The other states in the U.S,

It's a false equivalence because being a black person in the civil-right-era South isn't the same as being gay in California. Maybe they're both unpleasant experiences, but they're different both in kind and degree. Furthermore, there's no analog to "race mixing" (the real "crime" in interracial marriage) in the debate about gay marriage.

Lumping current proponents of traditional marriage in with the likes of George Wallace is akin to breaking Godwin's Law and only serves to inhibit understanding, not promote it. This only undermines the inclusive ideals that gay marriage supporters claim to advocate.


OK, first off, when Loving v. Virginia made mixed-race marriages legal across the United States, only 20% of Americans supported mixed race marriages[1].

Secondly (and note that I'm switching off RV numbers from California and onto nationwide numbers without any reference to voter registration), 52% of Americans nationwide supported the legalization of gay marriage last year[2].

    [A] large chunk of one of the most progressive states
    in the U.S.
What percentage of Californians do you think should support it before it's made legal? A supermajority? Why?

    Maybe they're both unpleasant experiences, but
    they're different both in kind and degree. 
Please explain the credentials or personal knowledge that help you properly categorize the severity of one wrong vs. another.

    Furthermore, there's no analog to "race mixing"
    (the real "crime" in interracial marriage) in
    the debate about gay marriage.
Patently false. Google 'regnerus' and 'michigan'.

    Lumping current proponents of traditional marriage in
    with the likes of George Wallace is akin to breaking
    Godwin's Law and only serves to inhibit understanding,
    not promote it. This only undermines the inclusive
    ideals that gay marriage supporters claim to advocate.
Wait, let me get this straight. Are you implying that it is bad for me to claim this is discriminatory behavior because it undermines inclusiveness? That's an utterly absurd argument.

You still haven't explained why you think gay marriage is bad.

[1] http://www.gallup.com/poll/163697/approve-marriage-blacks-wh...

[2] http://www.gallup.com/poll/163730/back-law-legalize-gay-marr...


> ...it is bad for me to claim this is discriminatory behavior because it undermines inclusiveness?

By definition, not allowing homosexual marriage is discriminatory, as are any limits on who may be married, no matter how just the reason. The only non-discriminatory view is to get government out of the whole business of marriage (a view that seems more and more like the best compromise). If inclusiveness is the ultimate goal here, then silencing critics by equating them to obviously terrible people is hypocritical. Otherwise, people should be honest and admit that inclusiveness isn't the goal, imposing a different worldview is.

Reasons for traditional marriage:

1. I find a Burkean argument against rapid experimentation in our social fabric to be convincing, especially considering the ill effects of rapid social change in the U.S. in the 20th century and up to now.

2. Accidental pregnancy is a big problem. Creating mechanisms for heterosexual couples to pair of permanently, with compatible mates, is in the interest of society. This is especially true in the age of large social programs and the always-increasing extramarital birthrate, which is overwhelmingly due to unplanned pregnancies.

3. Defining marriage as a purely expressive act or as a bag of goodies is to miss a sine qua non of the institution: promotion of healthy, stable families. Families are much more spontaneous than we give them credit for, especially in the fertile ground of a heterosexual relationship. Ensuring smart pairings and then a permanence for those relationships is in the interest of everyone.

4. I believe that a family splitting itself up is much more costly than we want to admit. I believe difficulty in splitting up is a feature of good marriage tradition and law.

5. I we have already been trying to remedy the ills caused by broken homes with little success. I am not confident that a combination of birth control, social programs, education, etc. will solve this problem because we have been trying this for decades.

To be clear, I'm not opposed to people expressing themselves. If two men want to call each other husband until they die, that's their right. I'm not opposed to figuring a way to simply bestow inheritance rights or power of attorney. Or to address the other practical hurdles of that lifestyle.

But how do homosexual unions undermine traditional marriage? They don't, really, but that's not the issue here. The issue is an opposition to special privileges for straight couples (traditional marriage). Otherwise, we would be talking about civil unions or something (I'm sure some readers winced when I used the phrase civil union, which is the point). This is not about freedom; it's about acceptance. It's not just about rights and outcomes, it's about equal benefits and equal treatment.

So my view, that straight sexual partners are fundamentally different, is incompatible with the goals of current court cases and legislation involving homosexual rights. I'm coming around to the hope that we can get government out of the regulating marriage business altogether and support families in other ways (child tax credits? some sort of earned income tax multiplier for families?).

In the meantime, having government reduce marriage to simply another expression of love or a package of rights is something I will actively oppose. The stakes are too high and the damage is already being felt.


    The only non-discriminatory view is to
    get government out of the whole business
    of marriage
Ah, we have some common ground. I agree completely with this. I think that the government shouldn't grant marriage licenses to anyone, but instead—perhaps—domestic partnership licenses, but with the whole range of rights, responsibilities, and legal precedent that the institution of marriage carries today.

I think that marriage, despite its fraught history in the context of the Christian church, should be explicitly removed from government and handed over to other parties who may partake of it if they feel so inclined. I would much rather skip the whole marriage thing given the option.


> Ah, we have some common ground. I agree completely with this. I think that the government shouldn't grant marriage licenses to anyone, but instead—perhaps—domestic partnership licenses, but with the whole range of rights, responsibilities, and legal precedent that the institution of marriage carries today.

So… the government should do the exact same thing but call it something else because reasons?

> I would much rather skip the whole marriage thing given the option.

You have it, nobody will force you to marry if you don't want to.


Right, but I don't find non-discrimination to be as compelling an end as you do. I am more concerned about the secondary and tertiary effects of restructuring what family means. The binds of marriage do not solely affect the married parties, and any argument that does not address this point is incomplete at best.

I believe the case for homosexual marriage is incomplete in this way.


Here's another one: let's say 10 men and 10 women want to get married, as a group, but there's a law forbidding that. Would you say that's an anti-human law?

And another: a man and a simulated anime character want to get married, but there's a law forbidding it. Would you say that's against artificial intelligence, japanese animation or both?


The issue is that marriage should be a simple tax/legal issue between N parties and nothing more. 10 people wanting to marry each other should certainly be given the same "benefits" as 2 people, adjusting to make sure there isn't some tax loophole.

And your second example is obviously discriminatory and against AIs. I assume the only reason you'd write such a line is because a sentient AI doesn't exist yet?


Well, we exclude 10 men and 10 women marriages equally.


I'm not anti-gay, I just want gay people to be second-class citizens!


Exactly. I have read a ton on this, and I have never found a rational argument from people that justifies denying gay people their civil rights. There are lots of things they will prop up as rational, but I've seen nothing that stands up.

When there's a big group of people who are obviously anti-gay, and an intertwined group who claims that they aren't anti-gay at all, but instead just happen to have a shifting array of horseshit reasons for acting anti-gay, Occam starts whispering in my ear.


Or he's against laws that leave religious freedom ambiguous. For instance, I'm 100% in favor of allowing 2 people of the same gender to marry, but I'm also 100% against a law that would require (or leave the issue ambiguous) a religion to perform those marriages to receive 1st Amendment protections. So if I donated to support a law that violated the second principle, would that make me anti-gay?

edit: To illustrate the relevance, the main criticism I heard from Prop 8's opponents was exactly this. It wasn't the usual references to Sodom & Gomorrah or that kind of thing.


> For instance, I'm 100% in favor of allowing 2 people of the same gender to marry, but I'm also 100% against a law that would require (or leave the issue ambiguous) a religion to perform those marriages to receive 1st Amendment protections.

I can't say I've ever seen such a proposal, the proposals I've seen[0] painstakingly carved a niche for exactly this[1].

It also has nothing to do with the case at hand, Prop 8 was not "specifically allow religious offices to not officiate in same-sex marriages if they don't want to", it was to add "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." to the state constitution following a mayor licensing purely civil same-sex marriage under the Equal Protection clause in defiance of Proposition 22 (the same as above as a law rather than a constitutional amendment).

[0] for legalising same-sex marriage, rather than legal challenges to laws going the opposite way

[1] and even if/when they don't, churches are allowed to discriminate in refusal of employment and services. They are specifically exempt from the Civil Rights Act 1964's Title VII for instance, and when the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church voted to refuse service and recognition to mixed-race couples in 2011 it was completely legal.


What about private businesses? It's becoming apparent that there will be a series of lawsuits against businesses in the wedding industry to force them to participate in gay weddings or go out of business.


> What about private businesses?

'bit more complex. Private businesses wouldn't be protected if they refused to participate in a mixed-race or a muslim wedding — and could always be sued either way — but I guess the exact result would depend on sexual orientation being a protected class.

Public accomodations ("workplace and facilities that serve the general public") are covered under Title II. Sexual orientation isn't a federally protected class under title II, but it can be protected at the state level, it is in Colorado (since 2008) where a couple successfully sued a bakery for refusal to sell a wedding cake (Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop).

In such states, or if sexual orientation ever becomes a federal protected class under title II, businesses will not be able to refuse service based on it, just as they can't based on "race, color, religion or national origin".


The analog wouldn't be a muslim wedding; it would be a Muslim religious ceremony.

The proprietors in question clearly stated they would sell a birthday cake to a gay couple. They wouldn't, however, sell them a wedding cake.

A better analogy would be whether a Muslim bakery could be forced to produce communion wafers. Or whether a baker would otherwise be forced to produce a cake containing speech he or she didn't agree with ("Happy Abortion!" or "Happy Bris!").

In my view, this issue is complex only because the position of the business owners in question is being elided.


No, it's closer to a Christian bakery refusing to sell communion wafers to a Muslim because they aren't Christian. The problem is refusing an existing service to someone based upon them as a person. Not refusing to provide a service you don't usually provide.


> A better analogy would be whether a Muslim bakery could be forced to produce communion wafers.

No, it is a terrible analogy: a muslim bakery wouldn't usually produce communion wafers. The bakery in question did usually produce wedding cakes[0], and refused to provide a usual service on grounds of sexual orientation (the bakery had no problem providing a wedding cake for a pair of dogs when asked).

> In my view, this issue is complex only because the position of the business owners in question is being elided.

The business owners repeatedly made their position clear: they had a strict policy against selling wedding cakes to same-sex couples based on their "reading of the Word of God." Their position is illegal in Colorado.

[0] and wedding cakes were available for sampling


Regardless, the result is that someone is refused their freedom of expression or forced to go out of business. You may be OK with that in this case, but let's call a spade a spade.

This attitude is certainly part of the reason that gay marriage has faced such opposition. Banning the expression of one group of people for the sake of advocating the freedom of expression of another[1] is not a winning argument.

[1] Not that marriage is only an act of expression.


> Regardless, the result is that someone is refused their freedom of expression

They can express whatever the fuck they want, what they can not do is discriminate against a protected class. It's been that way for the last 50 years. Don't like that? Don't be a public accommodation.

> This attitude is certainly part of the reason that gay marriage has faced such opposition.

No, that's just an excuse for the underlying bigotry. As it was back in the 60s.


I think you'd have to be at least somewhat anti-gay to go out of your way to fund an anti-gay marriage measure specifically. Most people, even those who take a more traditional view on marriage, don't concern themselves with such things to that extent.

However, it is not as bigoted as say, funding a measure against protecting gays from workplace discrimination. Marriage has a long history in our society as being between a man and a woman to provide a legal and social framework for raising biological children (generally speaking). They receive privileges in return for doing something socially beneficial. You could argue that gay marriages generally don't do the same and that it's not worth re-engineering society to make that change. Marriage is also heavily intertwined with our Judeo-Christian background as a country, so people feel as if changing the term violates their religious rights. The government really shouldn't be involved with religion, but people still feel this way nonetheless.

Personally I see no trouble in letting two people who love one another and want to form a family unit from marrying. It's their own business.

I do see a problem with trying to blacklist or shout down people who have political views that aren't socially acceptable. People who are against things like unchecked immigration or affirmative action are often tarred as bigots. Abortion is considered a human rights issue by people on both sides of the debate. As long as someone doesn't act in a discriminatory fashion at work, I'm not concerned with their personal political views so much.


There's literally no daylight between those stances and claims to the contrary are disingenuous.

Worse yet, there isn't even a good reason to hold such a stance.


Of course there is. Being against State privileged marriage automatically makes you against State privilege gay marriage.

I don't know if that's the case for Eich, but it is at least a counter-example to your claim.


"Nobody should have it, but especially they shouldn't" is what that functionally boils down to in the world of the real.

That's a really bad position to hold, too.


> "Nobody should have it, but especially they shouldn't"

The way you've phrased it specifically makes it look like the stance is targeting gays. That's disingenuous.

Here's another phrasing: "Governments should not be involved in marriage. Increasing their involvement in marriage will only make matters worse."

This is clearly not anti-gay. This is a sufficient counter-example to your claim even if you think it's a "bad position" to hold. (I don't think it's a great position to hold either. I don't think governments should be involved in marriage, but I'm pragmatic about it and think they should open the doors to whatever kind of cohabitation people want. This includes polyamory.)

Basically what I'm saying is that being against State privileged gay marriage doesn't have to be anti-gay. It can be anti-State. I grant that most people who advocate from this position are hypocrites and are probably using it to mask more sinister motivations, but that doesn't make this reasoning invalid.


Basically what I'm saying is that being against State privileged gay marriage doesn't have to be anti-gay. It can be anti-State.

While I think this is a perfectly rational position, I'm dubious that it's a very good basis for opposing gay marriage rights.

I've noticed that libertarians and leftists both tend toward a passionate hatred of compromise and "half-measures," and this reasoning strikes me as one of those cases. If you really don't think the State should be involved in marriage at all, then you don't want the state recognizing gay marriage because you don't want it to recognize any marriage. But on a practical level, that's not going to happen any time soon. Extending gay marriage rights arguably reduces the State's ability to dictate who can and can't be married and thus increases individual freedom. Isn't that clearly preferable from a libertarian standpoint?


I clarified in this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7461745

But to succinctly answer your question; no I don't think it is unequivocally libertarian. But it depends on who you talk to.

> I've noticed that libertarians and leftists both tend toward a passionate hatred of compromise and "half-measures," and this reasoning strikes me as one of those cases.

You mean compromise with respect to the expansion of the State. This is usually the distinction between a moderate and a radical.

> I'm dubious that it's a very good basis for opposing gay marriage rights.

Here's the problem: you're presupposing that marriage is a right.

I appreciate that marriage (along with a myriad of other things) is listed as a right in the UDHR, but that really isn't why gays---or others like polyamorous cohabitants---want marriage in the first place. They want it because of State granted privileges bestowed upon married couples. Those aren't rights.

Unfortunately, some of those privileges restrict the rights of all unmarried persons. Particularly with respect to hospital visitation. Everyone---including unmarried people---should be allowed to control such things about their lives.

Other privileges include tax breaks and the like. I won't go down that road...

With that said, you're basically telling me that I oppose something that I don't think even exists in the first place. To me, rights are much more fundamental than constructs like marriage.

The problem is that the debate is framed in terms of gay marriage. One's position against marriage in general can subsume one's position on gay marriage. But the lynch mob lacks perspective and can only imagine that being against gay marriage means being against gays.

Once you finally recognize that, "oh gee whiz, yeah, being against marriage in general is cool, but still, you aren't pragmatic enough for me."

OK. Now we're done. Before I was a bigot. But now I'm just not being pragmatic. That isn't a lynchable offense. So, we good now? (Not talking to you specifically, but in general.)

Disclaimer: I don't vote and don't contribute to any political causes/campaigns because there are none that exclusively support voluntary interaction. If someone put a gun to my head and told me to vote, I'd vote in favor of more egalitarian laws every time.

Sorry for being a windbag, but in this kind of topic, it's just way too easy to take short responses that aren't precise in bad faith.


> One's position against marriage in general can subsume one's position on gay marriage.

This makes no sense to me. When gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, the total number of extant marriages will increase by no more than a few percent. It seems, at the least, incredibly churlish to me to want to deny gay people the right to marry the consenting single adult of their choice just because you think it's unfair that marriage carries privileges. In short, your beef is mostly with straight people, but you're willing to take it out on the gays anyway, just because they're politically weaker. I can't see this as a principled stance.

And for the record, I agree that some of said privileges should be available to single people as well, like control over hospital visitation. I just think this is a completely orthogonal issue to gay marriage.


Respectfully, I think you've completely missed my point. Here's what tipped me off:

> In short, your beef is mostly with straight people

No. It's very much not with straight people. It's with the State. The State is the one suppressing people (not just gays) by giving special privileges to a preferred class of people.

> but you're willing to take it out on the gays anyway, just because they're politically weaker.

Uh, no, I'm not... This is exactly why I don't vote and don't contribute to political campaigns.

> And for the record, I agree that some of said privileges should be available to single people as well, like control over hospital visitation. I just think this is a completely orthogonal issue to gay marriage.

Then you haven't appreciated what it means to be against the State's involvement with marriage.

Against State privileged marriage => against all forms of State privileged marriage.

Once again, my point remains the same: being against State privileged marriage (and therefore State privileged gay marriage) does not make one a bigot. This runs contrary to what the lynch mob would like to assume.


>> In short, your beef is mostly with straight people

> No. It's very much not with straight people. It's with the State.

But the State is made of people. And most of the people who support, and benefit from, those special privileges are straight.

> I don't vote and don't contribute to political campaigns.

Okay -- I can understand neutrality. I just can't see your argument as supporting a position of active opposition to gay marriage.

> you haven't appreciated what it means to be against the State's involvement with marriage

Well, I was indicating that I didn't completely disagree with you about it. I certainly don't completely agree, either.

> being against State privileged marriage (and therefore State privileged gay marriage) does not make one a bigot

No. But opposing gay marriage more than you oppose straight marriage does.

Eich donated to Prop. 8. There's no way this makes sense as an expression of uniform opposition to all State-privileged marriage.

I think chipotle_coyote put it very well. Allowing gay marriage reduces the State's involvement in marriage. Presumably the number of actual marriages will increase slightly, but that is because a restriction on them has been removed.


> But the State is made of people. And most of the people who support, and benefit from, those special privileges are straight.

Governments have a monopoly on the use of legitimized coercion. Individuals don't.

The biggest trick governments have ever pulled is convincing everyone that the people is the same as the State. Sorry, but I don't buy it.

> I just can't see your argument as supporting a position of active opposition to gay marriage.

I don't know how to make this any simpler: Opposition of State privileged marriage implies opposition of State privileged gay marriage.

> No. But opposing gay marriage more than you oppose straight marriage does.

Nowhere have I implied or advocated this. The very crux of my argument is that you don't oppose or support one form of State privileged marriage over another.

> Eich donated to Prop. 8. There's no way this makes sense as an expression of uniform opposition to all State-privileged marriage.

The balance of probability supports this conclusion, but it is by no means guaranteed. This is precisely what my argument shows.

> I think chipotle_coyote put it very well. Allowing gay marriage reduces the State's involvement in marriage. Presumably the number of actual marriages will increase slightly, but that is because a restriction on them has been removed.

From the point of view of someone who is against State privileged marriage, this is ass backwards. It's not removing restrictions---it's granting privilege to a larger class of people (at the expense of those without that privilege).

You can rephrase this stuff however you want, but it doesn't change the very simple fact that being against State privileged marriage---and therefore State privileged gay marriage---doesn't make you bigot.


> From the point of view of someone who is against State privileged marriage, this is ass backwards. It's not removing restrictions---it's granting privilege to a larger class of people (at the expense of those without that privilege).

This is a cynical and short-sighted view.

It is cynical because it sees civil rights as a zero-sum game.

It is short-sighted for a closely related reason. Most opponents of gay marriage don't even want to draw a distinction between the religious institution of marriage and the civil institution. In their minds, marriage is divinely ordained, and its earthly recognition in the law is completely natural. "The family" -- meaning their particular conception of what families should be -- is all but sacred.

The gay marriage movement chips away at this belief system in several ways. First, it gives people reason to distinguish between religious and civil marriage; to see that whatever their personal religious beliefs may be, the law is about civil marriage. Also, it presents a picture of marriage as a human creation, rather than divinely ordained. It brings people into contact with unfamiliar family structures. And it makes ideas acceptable or at least debatable that previously were generally rejected. You can see this already with the debate over poly marriage.

In short, if you want to start a singles' rights movement, you should support gay marriage, because emotionally it is moving society in the direction you want, even if it is not yet doing that structurally.


I don't know why you're talking to me about divinity and sacred families. Its relevance eludes me.

You still haven't really addressed my central point, which is that one can be against gay marriage without being anti-gay.

> This is a cynical and short-sighted view. It is cynical because it sees civil rights as a zero-sum game.

I'm not talking about civil rights. You are. I've consistently used the phrase State privileged marriage. I use that instead of just "marriage" to specifically mark privileges that are given to some and held back from others. This isn't zero-sum. People who can check all the boxes get a marriage license plus special privileges. Nobody else can.

> In short, if you want to start a singles' rights movement

Now you're taking my comments in bad faith. Singles' rights? What is that? Do singles have special rights that other people don't have?

Sure, singles lose out on State privileged marriage. But so do couples that aren't married. And so do polyamorous cohabitants.

Ah, but that doesn't paint me as a selfish asshole, so it's not as catchy of an insult. I get it now.

> because emotionally it is moving society in the direction you want, even if it is not yet doing that structurally.

No. I would like society to move in the direction where it doesn't have to exude unquantifiable amounts of effort just to get government to permit them to associate in any way they want.

Your direction is just more of the same: "Oh government, can you pretty please let us make decisions for ourselves?"


I think you've done a pretty good job of painting yourself as a selfish asshole, and trying to paint yourself as the victim is less ingenuous.


The intersection of people I've met who actively fund and promote laws to deny gay people the right to marry and the people I've met who actively fund and promote laws to remove government from all marriage has been exactly zero people. I would love to be proven wrong about that, and I'm not saying your argument is incorrect, but I have personally only seen that argument used as an excuse to deny gay people the rights already given to heterosexual people.


You're most likely to find such people among principled libertarians. By their very nature they:

    1) Don't care what consenting individuals do.
    2) Want the power and influence of the State reduced.
Some of us are reasonably pragmatic and acknowledge that the State isn't going away any time soon. Therefore, we prefer that the State be as egalitarian as possible.

Others are less tolerable of pragmatism and do not support any expansion of State power. This has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation and is easily applied consistently.

Moreover, libertarians are very unlikely to even acknowledge marriage as a right. It's only meaningful in our society as a "right" precisely because governments grant special privileges to married couples. This discriminates against ALL unmarried people---not just gays.

If governments weren't involved in marriage, ALL of this would be a non-issue. People could choose to celebrate or signify their union in whichever manner they choose. To an anti-State ideologue, claiming that "well governments are involved so you might as just give them more power" is just a non-starter.

I get that participating in a lynch mob can be fun. But my only point here is that there are legitimate arguments for the other side that don't require bigotry. (Since other commenters were claiming this to be impossible.) This is an inconvenient fact for a lynch mob acting on limited information.


The important part of my comment was "actively fund[ing] and promot[ing] laws". I have no major problem with the argument that the state should be out of marriages entirely. That seems fully reasonable (at least to the extent I've thought about it).

My problem is that no one is actually trying to remove government from all marriages, as this argument would seem to imply. This argument is only used to defend removing gay rights, as with Prop 8.


http://www.webpronews.com/oklahoma-state-rep-wants-to-ban-al...

As with many of my preferred policies, I am sickened by the other people who support it. They do exist though, and they are in office.


Thanks for the link! I had not seen that before. I'd like to give the "get the government out of all marriage" position some more thought. As with any new position, I'm sure that will lead to quite a few questions and personal snags. Since you seem to believe in that, and I'm sure have thought about it more deeply than I have, I'd love to be able to field you some questions after a day or two if you wouldn't mind!


To be completely honest: I don't believe anyone has that position in good faith.


I certainly know people who do. But then again, I travel in voluntaryist circles, so I'm predisposed to exactly the kind of people who might have that position. There aren't many.


I oppose all marriage, but I am willing to be pragmatic about this, and will vote for both legislation that liberalizes marriage and legislation that bans it.


Sure, and that's a rational, coherent viewpoint that doesn't require you to want to keep gays as lesser citizens. The viewpoint espoused by burntsushi requires it. I don't care if you think the state institution of marriage should be abolished--I even kind of agree--but if your idea of "holding the line" is "nah, fuck those people", you have jank in your worldview and I suspect very much I can identify it.


> The viewpoint espoused by burntsushi requires it.

I don't hold that viewpoint. I was merely demonstrating that one can be against gay marriage without being anti-gay.

> "nah, fuck those people"

Uh, no. I'm not doing it to those people. Government is.

Virtually every law regulating social behaviors (whether it's created or repealed) requires oppressing some class of people. In the case of State privileged marriage, it oppresses everyone who can't or won't marry but still want benefits only available to married persons.


Yes, you are saying "these people should not have the same rights as these other people."

You can, and given your posting I am sure will, continue to represent otherwise. You are unconvincing, and somebody who votes, or donates money, in the method of your stated position is an asshole. Because making the perfect the enemy of the good and ignoring that you hurt people in the process is wrong.


Well, you're just wrong about that. I'm personally aware of people who do.


"I have no chance of achieving my overreaching goal of abolishing marriage for everyone, but by teaming up with religious bigots and homophobes, who I agree with about preventing gay marriage, but disagree with about preventing straight marriage, at least I can achieve a small part of my unattainable goal by perpetuating discrimination against a small minority of historically oppressed people, because they have less power to defend their right to marriage than the general population."


Serious question: how can you possibly fairly characterize any action to restrict a phenomenon as being anything by 'anti' that phenomenon?


Assuming that typo, I will suggest some possible ways in which restricting a phenomenon (let's say in this case "restricting" is taken to mean "advocating legislative means to restrict something)...

A) Alcohol. Let's suppose I say that "people under 18|21 should not be allowed to purchase alcohol." This technically counts as restricting alcohol but it doesn't mean I am anti-alcohol. It just means I think that below a certain age threshold, the balance of costs/benefits for alcohol availability land in the negative.

B) Patent laws. If I support laws restricting the ability of patent trolls to be their trolly selves, it doesn't mean I am opposed to patents as a whole. If anything I could value patents so much that I don't want this edge case of software patent trolling to fester and undermine the public's confidence in the patent system as a whole.

Of course you are right that in many (if not most) cases, an attempt to restrict a phenomenon is just a more politically feasible step towards a total ban by someone who is 'anti'-that phenomenon. But it is at least logically possible for one to restrict [X] while not being wholly anti-[X]

For the record I am 100% in favor of marriage equality and have been that way since I was old enough to hold my own opinions.


Typo detected: did you mean "as being anything but 'anti' that phenomenon"?


Really? Tell me more about how suppressing minorities you aren't part of isn't actually anti-minority. I'm fascinated.


Eich can rage as much as he likes about inter-racial marriage or homosexual marriage or single parent families or any other topic that gets social conservatives upset. Similarly, other people are free to criticise his views. Especially if he is going to choose to take on the role of being the public face for a large institution.


He didn't "rage" about anything, AFAIK. He made a donation to a political campaign that (at the time) won over a majority of voters in California.

Civil society is in real trouble if we can't agree to leave passionate debates like these in the political sphere.


Well he was motivated enough about the issue to make a sizeable political donation (although I will concede it's perhaps not a sizeable amount of money to a millionaire).

The idea that you can have a "political sphere" and then a sterile world outside that is free of politics is just totally bizarre to me. I can't even begin to imagine what that would look like or how it would work.


It works like having neighbors who voted for the other guy (or god help them, even gave his campaign some money!) but still come over for dinner and let their kids play baseball with your kids.


Politics has become utterly toxic.

I think part of the problem is that it's become an identity thing. That's been intentional on the part of political campaign strategists, since it helps them.

It's distressing to see how successful their self-interested manipulation has been.

I'm talking about this in broad terms, not any specific issue, and certainly not just this one. And it's both sides of the issues, not merely one party or the other.

It's the most insidious kind of marketing there is.


Perhaps this is a cultural difference then. I'm not from the US. Most of my friends and family are Scottish. Politics (in the broadest sense) is typically the number one topic of discussion in most situations. From dinners with friends to family get togethers to hacker meetups.

Do you never talk about politics with people who's views you disagree with? Is that just out of fear of offending them? What the hell do you talk about, the weather?


Generally speaking, the more culturally and economically homogeneous a group is, the less painful and divisive (and more echo-chambery, of course) discussing national politics is. You have to keep in mind that "national politics" in the US has largely devolved into a list of wedge issues in most people's minds; most of the things people might be able to find common ground on isn't even part of the national political debate and gets handled by either local government or the Federal civil service bureaucracy.

There are neighborhoods which are fairly uniform in their political leanings where politics is commonly discussed, mostly in the "us-vs-them, go us, evil them" way; pretty reminiscent of some religions, actually. There are families like that too.

There are other neighborhoods, and families, where having that sort of discussion all the time would mostly serve to make people upset at each other, precisely because it would so quickly devolve into an "us-vs-them" argument but with both sides represented. People generally handle this by either being miserable and fighting all the time or by agreeing to disagree and moving on with all the many other aspects of life that don't involve Federal government intervention. Does it really seem bizarre to you that people would pick the latter over the former?

> Do you never talk about politics with people who's views you disagree with?

It depends on the views, the person, and what the point would be. Generally talking about positions people decided on with their brains is worthwhile. Talking about positions people decided on with their guts is less likely to be so. Figuring out which is which can be hard.

> What the hell do you talk about, the weather?

Well, some people handle this by self-segregating in echo chambers and then "discussing politics". ;)

For me personally, I do talk to people about the weather, books I or they have read recently, local politics, parenting, food.... National politics is pretty far down the list of things that are interesting to talk about with most people I end up talking to.


It's possible to talk to people about politics, even those you strongly disagree with, and keep it amicable.

The fact that it seems alien to people to be able to do that indicates something has gone deeply, deeply wrong with politics.


Luckily, if you live in a place where terrible people barely exist (NYC, SF, Massachusetts, etc.), it isn't really an issue. There are only a few times that I've run into an issue from just openly stating "homophobes are awful" as if it was the weather - the typical response is as if I had said "it's raining" - "well, duh".

My general approach is to be glad I pissed those people off, because I now know to never associate with them again.

This might be harder in, say, Texas.


Civil society is in real trouble if we continue to consider these subjects "political" in nature.


I strongly disagree with Prop 8, and therefore presumably his views on gay marriage, and I believe not supporting gay marriage does obviously make him a bigoted; but for what it's worth, I haven't seen any reason to believe he's ever "raged" about any of those topics, to anyone.

All I've seen is a donation to a bigoted cause (which is disappointing), and then a matter-of-fact public statement that Mozilla's mission is bigger than any one person and their political beliefs, and that he's only willing to discuss this issue in more private channels, which seems totally fair.


Your original comment, and those defending it, didn't simply criticise Brendan Eich's views on gay marriage. If that was all they had done, we wouldn't be having this discussion. What you did was seriously suggest that those views might reasonably disqualify him from being Mozilla's CEO.


This is not "raising taxes". This is human rights.


In what country or under what convention, apart from the LGBT agenda, is "marriage" classified a basic human right?

Edit: I stand corrected, and learned something today.


I was curious myself, and found this. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

It seems the UN is against gay marriage so that's where the next witch hunt should go


UN Human-Rights Declaration, Article 16

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a16


Specifically in the US?

Chief Justice Earl Warren writing for the majority in Loving v. Virginia:

"Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival"

And that's how they overturned the laws against interracial marriage.


All of Europe (under the ECHR)[1]. Worth pointing out though that this doesn’t cover gay marriage yet.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Convention_on_Human_R...


Not to appear to be piling on, but no one[0] has yet mentioned that this is the case in the United States, as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia#Decision

[0]: OK, someone did while I was getting that citation. The link's still valuable, though.


Even if it wasn't, and it is, equality of opportunities is definitively a right.


Same goes for the abortion debate, but you can't blacklist people for disagreeing with you on abortion.


Its not fair to compare this with abortion. If you cut out the hyperbole and willful ignorance, both sides of the abortion debate still have compelling arguments.


It's a polarizing and emotive issue that social conservatives lose their minds over. So it's a fair comparison on that basis.


You should though.


I do wonder if you'd react the same way if he wanted to recriminalize interracial marriage.


You're causing a fuss because he donated $1,000 to prop 8? Hardly homophobic. I can't believe some people are so petty.


Is "they don't deserve the rights I enjoy" anything but homophobia?

(Unless this is a dictionary attack where you're over-parsing "homophobic" as something other than "anti-gay" in some odd quest to prove a meaningless point, in which case, get on with your pedant self.)


Henry Ford published a series of anti-semitic pamphlets, but that didn't take away from his prowess as a founder/CEO.

I don't agree with Eich's views, but simply focusing on that aspect of him isn't the strongest of bases upon which to judge him.


It certainly took away from Ford as a basically decent human being, and call me crazy but I kind of value human decency over business savvy, you know? This isn't an attack on you, so please don't mistake it as such, but the celebration of business amorality leads to this sort of calculus and the desire to put that optimal effectiveness above human decency--and that disturbs me deeply. People matter more.


The Hacker News automated capitalism-is-super-fucking-awesome excuse generator has randomly selected the following justification for putting business amorality over human decency:

The free market will decide.


Of course people matter more, and I admit I reached when I brought Henry Ford into this. This entire discussion just strikes me as a bit misguided, there are more to people than a single belief and judging them solely by one aspect of their personality just doesn't agree with me.

That's not to say this belief isn't indicative of the rest of Eich's values, but automatically assuming he isn't a decent human being because of it just seems premature without any other evidence.


Henry Ford was one of the worst people in history, and writings that he sponsored and opinions that he espoused were referenced frequently by the architects of the Holocaust.

That says nothing about his ability to make money, but Mozilla is a non-profit exercise.


This is off-topic, but I did not know that about Ford. I find it very interesting that Huxley invented a dystopian society which also praised Henry Ford but for completely different reasons.


> Unless this is a dictionary attack where you're over-parsing "homophobic" as something other than "anti-gay"

well first of all, it's not pedantic to point out that that word is being abused. second, we're not dealing with "anti-gay", but with "anti-gay marriage" - which, as has been pointed out, was the mainstream position for most of America until just a few years ago, and the mainstream position for both Democratic and Republican candidates until even more recently.


> we're not dealing with "anti-gay", but with "anti-gay marriage"

Which is a distinction without a difference.


How big a donation would cross the line for you? $10? $100k? mil?

For many who are opposed to prop 8 1c crosses the line.


I don't care what his personal views are. I care whether he can run a company or not.


And then we find it shocking when companies do amoral things. Maybe more people should care whether they're run by moral people.


Has anyone left github in light of what's come out? From the comment activity, I find it hard to believe that people don't take those issues seriously but I can't say I've heard of much of an exodus from it. There are tons of options too... And, ATMO, the more time between when anything else comes out (if it does) the less likely people are to care. Are there people on the fence that are going to move to another service if the founder isn't sacked or something?

I think you could easily look at Mozilla the same way. It's free software, there are tons of alternatives you can use and a lot of you probably already do and this was a personal donation... I hate to say it, but I think a lot of people sort of like to talk support for various issues up a bit more than actually doing things to support them. It's easier to get emotional and post some messages and tweets than it is to actually do something.


Yes, they have, and many are preparing to move. I've set up a local repo at work.


> I can't help thinking that it doesn't really fit with the image Mozilla tries to present of themselves.

Mozilla offers mass-market products. That means that there are many many people who, for example, use Firefox and watch FOX NEWS—and that Mozilla would dearly like for there to be many more of them. I guarantee you that Mozilla doesn't seek, and would be mad to seek, a public image as an organisation that blacklists people for holding mainstream US conservative views.

Secondly, if one accepts the principle of industry blacklisting, and not only against individuals with exceptionally marginal or extreme views, we can assess, for example, the HUAC blacklists in this light. Were they proper and appropriate? If not why not? Perhaps because being a mid-century Stalin apologist is entirely forgiveable but being a Prop. 8 opponent is beyond the pale?


Half of the state of California voted for Prop 8. Supporting it isn't exactly outside of mainstream politics.


Like supporting racial segregation was not a big deal in the south until the civil right act.


Nope. Not like that at all.


And why not?


I consider it obvious. If you're genuinely at a loss, ask the majority of black (or Latino) Californians that voted for Prop 8.


You're being obtuse. Are you trying to say that minorities oppressing a different minority is somehow relevant? It isn't. That is completely within the normal (and bad) operating parameters of human nature.

It even got its very own parable:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_unforgiving_serv...

HN's stupid anti-flame wankery won't let me respond to you, but the point of this parable in this context is that a person caught a break, then immediately turned around and oppressed someone less fortunate. Based on the way you seem to be parsing things, I honestly don't expect you to get this.


I'm saying that equating being gay with being a member of a racial minority is a false equivalence. Also, equating segregation with marriage is a false equivalence. These aren't radical opinions. They are shared by the majority of Americans and the majority of Californians, including racial minorities.

Since you brought it up, the parable you cited is a parable about forgiving people, not bigotry or oppression. A better parable about bigotry is The Good Samaritan [1]. It's not common knowledge, but the Samaritans were an ethnic underclass. The story is the answer to the question "Who is my neighbor?"

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Good_Samaritan


How the hell is that a false equivalence, unless you are one of those people that assumes homosexuality is a choice - which I think all rational people believe it is not.

I guess, what I'm saying is, I don't follow your logic on the lack of equivalence. Please explain.


One thing worth considering is that this could, potentially, open up Mozilla to a wrongful termination/hiring discrimination/harassment lawsuit in the future. Mozilla's CEO is on the record expressing a belief that gay people deserve less rights than straight people, and sexual orientation is a protected class in the state of California.

I'm not saying that such a suit would win, but this issue definitely falls under the category of "public statements to be careful of making if one is going to be in a decision-making position".


That's somewhat disappointing. Has he ever made a public statement on this?



This should really be higher up in the comments. Considering all the anonymous ad hominem against this guy, letting him respond in his own words is essential.


That wasn't a response, it was a non-explanation defending his right to support disgusting ideas without facing any criticism for it.


Those responses so well sum up the modern internet.

"Sure someone donated a thousand dollars to taking away the basic civil rights of others, no problem. Glad he was being so "christian" in his love of all others, except gays, since we all know they aren't people who deserve rights."

"But man, did you see that guy who made a tweet about how he was offended by this??? This has turned into a Christian hating, bigoted witch hunt!"


Mozilla now cannot hire a LGBT employee without creating a hostile environment for them.

This is a big fucking deal.


> Mozilla now cannot hire a LGBT employee without creating a hostile environment for them.

His private donations as an individual have nothing to do with necessarily creating hostile workplace environments.


No, but the hostile workplace environment that's (apparently) already there will probably not be helped by this move. http://tim.dreamwidth.org/1840066.html

Edit: A more descriptive link: http://tim.dreamwidth.org/1761874.html


This guy is seriously issuing a "trigger warning" about "legislative violence" for someone not agreeing with his views? Is he a Social Justice Warrior caricature or does he really believe this stuff?

I don't see why such content would belong on a company-sponsored blog, but claiming some guy who wants his country to not redefine "marriage" when they already offer civil unions to all is a member of a violent hate group is a bit much.


The views of someone in leadership in a company matter, and even if they're "personal", they will inevitably be taken up by others.

So even if it is not directly creating a hostile work environment, it does seems to be encouraging one.


Which is true - as long as he is not the individual running the show.

So "how much will this influence your role as CEO, as the prime manager of all those people?" is a valid question he has to answer to - and well.


Perhaps. But corporate America is filled with tons of leadership that in their private lives go to evangelical Christian churches, many of which oppose gay marriage. In private, those same CEOs probably express similar opinions. The only difference is that BE donated a paltry sum in support of a public law. That's the only issue. Discourse around this will change only one thing: the next time they'll give the money to a cousin to make the donation.


Mozilla's leadership is far more complex than the person holding the CEO chalice. Assuming he wanted to impose his personal views on marriage down to the company there would be a revolt and it will result in his termination.

The board that elected him ultimately holds more power. On a different note if you knew Brandan you'd know that he would never steer the company in such a direction. My only regret is that he will likely resign after his turn at the throne is over. Hopefully he will choose to stick around as a board member.


I still remember this. I haven't forgotten. I do my very best not using Mozilla products as far as I can. Not using Firefox nor recommending it to anyone as well when they ask for browser.


Firefox is the only completely free libre web browser that is also mainstream enough to be successful (no Chrome is not completely free software). So you're recommending that people give up their freedom to make a political point? That seems stupid.


Firefox is not free libre software. This is why it doesn't ship on free Gnu/Linux distributions, they prefer alternatives such as Iceweasel or Chromium instead (free libre versions of Firefox and Chrome that don't come with any proprietary logos, mpg4 codecs, pdf readers etc).


Iceweasel is not really much of a fork, just a s/Firefox/Iceweasel/g over every file in the project because Debian considers Mozilla's branding requirements to conflict with their free software guidelines (DFSG).


That's misleading, Firefox itself is free software, they just recommend some non-free addons

"While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons."

https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/


Their CEO doesn't want homosexuals to be able to receive benefits that straight couples do and be able get married.

I'll recommend anything that doesn't give him more.

Lucky thing, his kind would be laughed at in Sweden. "Removing peoples civil liberties? Preposterous".


You do realize what free software is right? You're not giving him money by using Firefox, and you're completely free to use a forked version of it like Iceweasel if you don't want it to be counted as an install or whatever.


That depends on what you view as important. I believe that treating people as equals and granting everyone basic human rights is one of the most fundamental goals we should have as a society. Using a "free libre web browser" or any other free software is trivial in comparison.

As such, I believe that making a person who has contributed to fight against these goals the leader of your corporation is a terrible decision that will lead me to no longer recommend any of your products, even if that means recommending non-free software. You're welcome to disagree with that view, but I don't see how it's stupid.


> I believe that treating people as equals and granting everyone basic human rights is one of the most fundamental goals we should have as a society

I agree, which is why I want people to have control over how they do their computing, which, by the way does affect LGBT issues: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/02/digital-freedom-lgbt-i...


Interestingly: that EFF link seems to have ignored the biggest LGBT/electronic freedom overlap IMHO - censorware.

The people who make censorware often automatically include anything LGBT-related as porn.

Here in the UK, O2 filters the Wikipedia articles on 'gay', 'lesbian' and 'transgender' under the "Lifestyles" category—the very term that homophobes use!

LGBT campaigning sites and safe sex sites have been filtered on corporate and state-owned wifi connections as pornography. And the UK government's plan to try and introduce on-by-default internet filtering will lead to LGBT teenagers not able to look up safe sex information online when said information gets miscategorised by the censorware manufacturers as 'porn'.

Not to mention, the censorware that automatically alerts the 'concerned' parents running it as to what little Jimmy is doing on the Internet - that's going to potentially out kids to their parents and put them at risk of being made homeless by their fundamentalist nutjob parents.

As a closeted gay teenager, I'm really fucking glad to have grown up in an era where the internet for me was uncensored precisely because having access to a resource that had information - and, yes, porn - that showed being gay as normal, healthy and okay was a refreshing, sanity-inducing change from the rest of society that didn't.


Chromium is


Yes but there's less of a guarantee that people will continue working on it should google decide to abandon it (which isn't impossible). I have nothing against Chromium though, but it's not very convenient for people stuck on Windows based OSes for example.


Chromium is the foundation of Chrome, Chrome for Android and ChromeOS, multi-billions markets for Google. It is less likely that Chromium will stop receiving funding from Google than Firefox from Mozilla.


Mozilla rely on Google funding, anyway.


Not as stupid as the people recommending that OTHER people give up their freedom to marry to make a political point that nobody should have the right to marry.


You probably shouldn't use Javascript either. I hear this guy invented it.


Was the computer you're using made in a country that allows gay marriage?


This is an ideological sideshow. What do his political beliefs have to do with him being CEO of a company? Does he have to think doubleplusgood thoughts to run a company?


If you're a gay or lesbian employee of that company, I'd think it has a lot to do with it.


I missed that bit of news. It's been 6 years since Prop 8, I'm curious to hear what his reasons were and what his position is today - usually a person's ethics and moral views evolve with time.


When asked about it in 2012, he did not retract it or change his views publicly: https://brendaneich.com/2012/04/community-and-diversity/


As much as I dont think it will happen, I would love to hear Graydon Hoare speak on the matter. As a fairly high profile (creator of Rust) Mozilla developer that has spoken out against Mozilla in the past about its policies regarding workplace harrassment and discrimination, I wonder if he is as concerned as many of the HN commenters here.


Isn't Eich in favor of marriage privatization?


I'm in favour of abolishing State-granted marriages too. But that's no reason to support the abolishment of gay marriage, since it will do nothing for the cause, just maintain an inequality of rights.


As long as married != single, we have an inequality of rights. The only question is whether gays get to join the favored class.

As one of the single people that gay activists are willing to throw under the bus as long as they get what they want, I don't see any reason to support them.


Marriage will never be the same as being single. Otherwise there would be no purpose to being married.

If everything were the same, the term "single mother" wouldn't carry an special meaning.


I think "equal before the State" is implied here. After all, gay couples can already perform marriage rituals and live together, what they lack is the recognition of the official institutions.


Regardless of what the state thinks, unplanned pregnancies are the domain of heterosexual partnerships. In monogamous homosexual marriages, children come about intentionally or not at all (exceptions here only prove the rule).

Point being, the outcomes of straight marriages will inevitably include more children, so it's in the interest of the State to make sure sexually-active heterosexuals marry, marry well, and stay married. There may be other goals to consider, but I'm a bit surprised that biology and human nature haven't come up in this discussion yet, especially considering recent trends in the extramarital birth rate.


You can't mention biology or human nature when it comes to the LGBT community. They're sort of...abstracted away, in the leaky sense.


I guess what we are saying is that once you become CEO any and every opinion you hold is fair grounds to oppose/vilify you.

If there were any suggestions that his private opinions were impacting Mozilla policy/road-map/work environment whatever then yes this stance does beg the question.

OTOH what this debate is implying is that if there is any hint of disagreement over opinions between adults, then all bets are off and we lose the ability to work together or tolerate that other person as the head of a corporation.


my thoughts exactly. today i'll be striking Mozilla from the list of companies i'd potentially enjoy employment with.


and he invented javascript


Quite. The man may yet change his stance on gay marriage, but we cannot now uninvent Javascript...


Yeah has he issued an apology for that? There was that book, Coders at Work, I think, where the feeling I got was "I was given a few days and forced to come up with something that looked superficially like Java so..."


Let's all eat each other in this holier-than-thou contest. It seems to be where everything is heading anyway with reduced privacy. The personal is now political or made to be.


Good to know.


So, if you follow your link, you don't see any comment from Eich--just a bunch of angry attacks on him and others (including ESR, fair or not).

The linked HN discussion from that link in turn has two top comments basically saying "This doesn't matter (as a Mozilla employee" and "This doesn't matter--his technical work is separate from his private life."

So, while it is quite the little tempest in a teapot you're kicking up, I'd like to leave you with a question:

What have you done that puts you in a position to justify your criticism?

As far as the public image of Mozilla, I personally think it is one of being the last free-ish hackers working on the 'Net, and an appointment of the creator of Javascript is directly in line with that.

(Why don't you limit yourself to attacks on the man's work instead of the man? After all, there are parts of JavaScript that can be found to be pretty gay, in any particular meaning of the word you choose. I, for example, find myself giddy every time I get to use functions as arguments to other functions and doing manual application and currying.)


> After all, there are parts of JavaScript that can be found to be pretty gay, in any particular meaning of the word you choose.

How about in the preferring-the-sexual-and-romantic-company-of-the-same-sex sense?

Because as a gay man and a programmer (admittedly one that greatly dislikes JavaScript), I'm really failing to work out the connection.


Okay, okay, for most meanings of the word you can choose.

:|

(I think I can maaaaybe stretch it to a joke about semi-colon insertion, but honestly that likely is not the way to proceed here.)


I was pretty disappointed to find out you have such high karma and know that most moderating efforts won't do away with useless comments like this in future threads.

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