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Goodbye, Firefox Marketplace (teamrarebit.com)
182 points by isopod on Mar 24, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 231 comments

"This is a strange one to me and can indeed be a sticky situation. I am NOT judging people who use Firefox, work at Mozilla, or even support Brendan’s right to his opinions. It’s fine that you think I shouldn’t judge his opinion. (This is getting confusing). However, this particular subject is not one that is negotiable to us. We are personally affected by his actions.

It’s not his belief that hurts us. It’s that he actively donated to a cause that directly negatively affected us, personally. It’s not abstract. It’s not a witch hunt. He’s certainly allowed to have his opinion, of course, but I’m allowed to judge his actions of supporting the cause financially.

Actions have consequences."

There you go, sums it up right there. Some past actions are hard to overlook when you're personally affected by it. However you view the news of Brendan Eich's new CEO position and people's opinions of that, you can't ignore the human element of his insignificant (financially) but significant (philosophically) prop 8 contribution and how people take it personally.

Edit: Adding onto my thought of how I view the human element in this story: we all try to be rational, but I bet you everyone of us throw that away for a gut feeling we have of someone. If you don't like someone, no amount of reason will make that go away. That feeling spreads to what they're associated with. In retrospect, we reason our gut feeling and we either turn out right or wrong. I understand hcatlin's decision in that sense since I have felt that way before.

There are people at every large software company that donated to one of the sides of the political battle. Some of them may have received a promotion after the fact. Does that mean that you should boycott those companies too? (Google, Apple, etc.)

After all, after people get paid from their job, shouldn't it be their right that they can use their money as they please?

> After all, after people get paid from their job, shouldn't it be their right that they can use their money as they please?

"He’s certainly allowed to have his opinion, of course, but I’m allowed to judge his actions of supporting the cause financially."

If they are promoted to CEO, then... yes. Hence why we were building apps for it knowing full-well that he was a homophobic CTO. CEO is a whole other level, and was our personal line.

>After all, after people get paid from their job, shouldn't it be their right that they can use their money as they please?

If they spent that money attacking your family, would you be willing to do business with them?

I would be very surprised if in an average day you don't buy product or services from a company that has donated or has C-level executives that have donated to some cause that attacks you or your family. I know of at least one company that donates to a group because of the group's work in China that is directly attacking the families of their customers in the US.

Before this goes to my personal views: I'm not Californian so I don't vote there and I am one of those small government folks that believe the government should only do civil unions (no mention of marriage) as a matter of contract law between two or more consenting adults.

> I would be very surprised if in an average day you don't buy product or services from a company that has donated or has C-level executives that have donated to some cause that attacks you or your family.

I'd actually be surprised if this is the case. What possible causes would they donate to that will count as an 'attack'?

The case I site is an environmental group, but there are actually quite a few different attacks (lawsuit based) that happen in the US.

Is the argument then they are hurting the environment or want to ergo are attacking your family indirectly?

It was direct lawsuits (not me, just a company I know).

political parties

I will eat my proverbial hat if you can find one executive from a top company that never promoted taxes for the income range my family is into.

I assure you that marriage is an entirely different ballgame than raising some taxes. Did you read the entire post?

There are a number of companies who have executives who make business decisions that are morally questionable. I have often said its best not to use those companies, but often it's not possible.

Boycotts are effective: I have participated in one against Australia's Kyle Sandilands. You won't always be able to do this, however.

Gay rights is not a "moral fashion" as some people are calling it.

This is a group of people who have been systematically terrorised throughout history, and some people still want to keep that status quo that holds them down as second class citizens, with less legal rights (like the right to immigrate in order to live together.)

Screw that meta-ethical/normative moral relativism[1].

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

Good for you. I also up until now thought Mozilla was fighting for the little guy and as a developer I've been wanting to work for them. Not anymore. There's no way I want to work for a company whose CEO has publicly supported voting against two people's right to be happy.

For those that say don't mix business with politics, think about what you are saying. Politics affect our day to day lives and the way we live or die. How can we separate politics from any other sphere of our lives?

I understand where the authors are coming from. They're made that Eich supported a bill that denies their rights. However, what Eich does is his own, personal business. The writers, at least in my mind, are mixing business with their personal lives.

I support gay marriage, but I think that this isn't too much more than needless outrage. When someone boycotts Google because Google supports gay marriage, a lot of us look at them and go "Wow! What an idiot, boycotting Google because they think that Google is immoral! They're the immoral ones!" This is the exact same thing, it just happens that the authors' views align with our own. I think it's ultimately just petty. I'm glad gay couples can marry in California, where I currently live. I think it's a step in the right direction. I just think that needless outrage like this, which only isolates you from potential customers, gets us nowhere. We get it, you disagree with the CEO's personal values. I understand your outrage, and that might mean nothing to you. I just think there has to be a better way than this to actually get your point across.

By trying to keep these guys from getting married, Eich made it personal.

As the court decisions have shown, keeping them from getting married was an unconstitutional imposition upon their civil rights. Whereas them deciding whom to do business with is totally legit. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

I don't know what sort of consequences you're implying, but threatening someone over anything they say or think is certainly illegal.

I believe that "Consequences" here meant, "People finding out you are a homophobe".

Exactly, we look at them and say "They're the immoral ones." ... now everybody's looking at the authors and saying "why are they mixing business with their personal lives".

Notice the difference: we are still defending the corporations from the protestors but now the reasons are a bit weird.

I understand your posture and I totally support gay marriage, but you're mixing politics with work, and you're taking a personal issue to a professional level. It's Brendan Eich that supported the prop 8, not Mozilla. That's a very very very VERY unprofessional stance. From now on I will be very careful in buying/getting anything from your company because of huge lack of professionalism being shown here.

This said, I wish you the best luck in your personal life and I hope you get that gay marriage bill ASAP! All my support from Morocco!

> That's a very very very VERY unprofessional stance.

I do not recognise this definition of professionalism, and am happy to be called unprofessional if it is the accepted one.

Mozilla is an organisation that is dependent on community goodwill and support, and if the person they choose as a figurehead is one who has taken direct action to alienate a large segment of that community, then it seems to me entirely proper for that community to react as they see fit.

Not sure how this is a direct action taken to alienate a community. Seems like they're alienating themselves just fine.

Well, let me help you out. Brendan Eich choosing to pay actual money (taking a direct action) to oppose the existence of gay marriage (alienating a large community) is what I'm referring to.

You said it: Brendan Eich. In his free time. As an individual person. Mozilla has nothing to do with what this guy does in his free time (and I hope it doesn't).

Of course everyone can react as he/she sees fit. I did.

This statement "However, this particular subject is not one that is negotiable to us. We are personally affected by his actions." should make people very skittish about using Team Rarebit's code or services in production, specially if they ever make something that your app infrastructure is dependent on (like payment systems or APIs).

I understand that right now, it's some tiny app that doesn't affect too many people, which is fine. But imagine if tomorrow, Stripe or Balanced decided to stop certain conservative organizations from using their app. That would definitely be considered a suppression of personal expression and (imho) cause quite a backlash. As your organization grows, you have to be more and more careful about separating your personal and political views from those of your customers. I am glad that this company is not building anything that might be considered essential to startup infrastructure.

[Edit: To clarify a bit more, I'm trying to say that pulling an app from a store / suspending a service for reasons of personal disagreement is a disservice to the users of said app/service. Showcasing Brendan's role in donating against Prop 8 is perfectly fine.]

Weighed in the balance:

1. the right of gay people to get married

2. our personal right to pay money to bigots using specific money-transfer services

I'll be honest, I keep re-rolling, and it keeps coming up 1. What am I doing wrong?

I would say that this is a false dichotomy. If said organizations are bigoted but legal 1) and 2) can co-exist peacefully if the app/service makes their value statement very clear from the outset about what sort of organizations they want to serve. It is the sudden suspension of an app or service based on personal decisions that I think is unprofessional.

To give a better example of why this would affect you as a third-party user not directly involved in the debate -- imagine you use a Mint-like personal finance app on your Android phone on a day-to-day basis. Now suppose Brendan Eich becomes CEO of Google, and the app writers pull their app from the Play store, and revoke API access for all Android devices. Would you be okay with that?

I would be ecstatic if the businesses I chose to deal with had such principles, yes, and would gladly join their boycott. We are all involved in the civil rights "debate", whether we like it or not.

So then I understand you do agree that a company should ask you your personal beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, and check which donations to which causes you made before hiring you? Because that's what you're implying here.

Brendan Eich chose to make his personal belief public by paying for it to be written into law, and his customers, who include publishers on his platform, are absolutely free to hold him accountable for that.

What his employers choose to do in response to that public knowledge and action is up to them, within the limits of employment law. It is my understanding that homophobes are not a protected class under said law, and long may that continue.

Any further inferences you draw from my posts are unwarranted, although I'll tell you for free that any company that asks potential employees what their sexual orientation is can get stuffed as far as I'm concerned.

And Mozilla chose Brendan Eich to represent them as CEO. There is a distinct difference between being an employee, and being the CEO.

They chose Eich because of professional issues, not his personal beliefs. I hope no company/organization chooses employees by their personal beliefs. Private life is private, he can have whatever beliefs he wants, I don't care. That doesn't affect his work as CEO or any other post. And if it eventually does, then I would stand against it. Until then, private life is private, I don't care what he does in his free time.

No, there isn't. A CEO is an employee, just one that tends to get paid above average.

And one that steers the direction of the company every single day. Mere employees don't.

Still, what has that to do with personal beliefs? If he's a professional he will know to keep his personal beliefs out of his work. And if his beliefs interfere with his Mozilla's work, then I would agree on boycotting him and Mozilla. Until then, that's a private personal opinion which I absolutely don't care about.

It's fine that he has personal beliefs against gay marriage. As an LGBT person, it bothers me, but whatever, I probably bother him as well. It's mutual.

My problem is he has expressed he's willing to act on those views, by donating to a cause against gay marriage. While of course it's reasonable for him to act on his views if he wants to, that means I personally don't want to support him because I don't want to help him act on those views. Now that he's CEO, how do we know that LGBT people at Mozilla are getting fair treatment? Would he fairly consider a LGBT person for a promotion? What if two LGBT people get married and invite a bunch of their coworkers, or have a small celebration at work during break? Would he be OK with that? We don't know, but taking away from the fact that he's already acted on his anti-gay views, then I would lean towards that he wouldn't, and that bothers me enough that I don't want to support Mozilla.

There's also the fact that he designed Javascript, which is a perfectly valid reason to hate him :p

Every employee affects the direction of the company in some amount, commensurate with their hierarchical level, security clearance, expertise, etc.

In normal, day to day operations, the CEO tends to have a bigger share of influence than other employees, but he neither has sole influence, nor always the biggest influence.

One could very well argue that Jonathan Ives had a bigger influence than Steve Jobs on Apple's direction around the time of iPod's release, for example. That product singlehandedly changed Apple's market segment and consumer perception.

In short, a CEO is just an employee, often getting paid more than the average employee, and often having more influence than the average employee, but not always.

If an employee pulls in one direction, and the CEO pulls in the other, the employee loses. Period.

(If the majority of employees pull in that direction, then the CEO needs to rethink. But we're talking about individuals).

"In short, a CEO is just an employee, often getting paid more than the average employee, and often having more influence than the average employee, but not always."

Yes always. Your supposed company where the average employee out-influences the CEO simply does not exist.



Not much of a counterargument there.

Nothing to counter. Putting words into a comment does not make it valid. Review your history.

p.s. Feel free suggest the same thing about my comment. I know you want to.

There's a difference between petty bikeshedding politics between republicans and democrats and world changing, need-to-be-done politics.

what's unprofessional about this stance? They're standing up for their values. Why should we separate different aspects of our lives? We're not machines, we're human beings. I say, I'd love to do business with them because they stand up for their values rather than bow to greed and fear not getting some unknown moroccan's business.

I have no business, I'm a simple user and I have my values and they say: "Do not trust people that mix work and personal issues". It's my opinion and I respect yours as well.

this is not a personal matter. It's a public issue. For example, there are plenty of Arab businesses that boycott Israel and their products. Are they mixing work and personal issue?

It's not a public issue. He didn't support the anti-gay marriage bill as a representative of Mozilla. He did it in his free time and as a SINGLE person. I absolutely DO NOT agree with him, but that has nothing to do with Mozilla or his professional work. I don't support either boycotting any Israel company, but if that company supports Israel apartheid by any means, then yes, I do support its boycotting. And if Eich does anything anti-gay as Mozilla CEO (e.g. ban gay employees), then I would boycott Mozilla as well for letting CEO's personal beliefs interfere with the organization proper working and he should be dismissed because of unprofessionalism as well.

It's not as clear-cut as you suggest. You can't just draw lines between his role as CEO of a company and his public stance on an issue and call them separate. It does affect the company and the impression that other employees get. It affects the company culture. It on one hand makes homosexual employees feel that the CEO despises their lifestyle so much, that he's publicly willing to donate to not allow them to lead it. On the other hand, it enables the bullies to take this as a green light since their values (based on hate) reflect that of the CEO.

"By using Arabic numerals you are helping terrorists."

As long as Mozilla products do not feature a "Not to be used by gays" warning, whatever Eich does in his time is irrelevant. He's free to spend his money in any way he likes. What prevented the authors of this article to spend $1000 to counterbalance Eich's contribution if they are so concerned?

> whatever Eich does in his time is irrelevant

Of course it isn't.

If he was backdooring JS crypto libraries for the NSA, or shooting orphans, or selling crack, that would be seriously inappropriate behaviour and he would lose his job for it.

Many people might consider it inappropriate to be fighting against gay marriage - it's not just a political issue, it's a moral one.

Many people might consider it inappropriate to be fighting against gay marriage - it's not just a political issue, it's a moral one.

Yet, we are forcing everyone to take a stand on this "moral" issue.

No one is being forced to take a stand. Eich chose to take his own stand by donating $1000 in support of Prop 8. It is completely fair to judge him for that action.

How is everyone being forced to take a stand? People who don't care don't have to do anything.

Here is how I interpret it. If today Brendan says he will pick No Opinion to "Should Bills of Rights be included in the Constitution of the United States", then should he be held accountable for his decision?

He can either support Bills of Rights, against Bills of Rights, or he can do nothing about it, in which case is pretty much in the same camp as the opposition. The only difference is he chose to not care and yet he will probably be judged for not helping human rights. And human rights, to many is a worthwhile ethic cause. Not an individual morality debate; just as gay advocates would think gay rights is a basic right of human. If Brendan chose to say "I have no opinion" he is neither against nor supporting gay rights but his decision will disappoint the gay advocates in which case the advocates will not be happy with Mozilla. Therefore, everyone has to take a stand even if it were "I don't have any opinion."

Backdooring his employer's code would be directly related to his work, and illegal actions on his own time would make him unemployable if caught and convicted, because he'd go to prison. False equivalances, all.

OK, if you need to picky, something more comparable. Imagine he said: "black people are inferior to white people and don't deserve to be happy".

FYI: You are responding to a troll.

It's certainly illegal to fire someone over that opinion, yes.

It depends entirely on his contract - I'd expect most CEOs to have a clause about their conduct causing harm to the organisation. Even if not, it's legal to convince someone to leave, which is what usually happens in public embarrassment cases.

It's illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their political stance. Nothing you can say will ever change that.

If that were true, no congressperson could ever staff an office. Or a campaign.

If a Republican wanted to work for a Democrat, and if he were denied employment for that reason alone, that would be illegal, yes.

I don't know where you're getting this idea from, but you really should check your sources.

There is a limited prohibition against screening for political affiliations enforced by the Federal government when filling certain civil service positions, but that's about it.

For a good summary of what types of discrimination can and cannot trigger legal liability, see here:


No it's not. Indeed, you run a legal risk in NOT firing such a person given that keeping them around (especially in a senior position) creates a demonstrably hostile work environment.

Another comparable example: He donated 10,000 to the Nazi party.

That would be a hell of an accomplishment, seeing as how the Nazi Party hasn't existed for more than half a century.

That is not the Nazi Party though, is it?

For the purposes of the parent's argument, it's just fine. And you know it.

That's a terrible semantic argument. Of course it's not the actual Nazi Party, but if the Mozilla CEO donated $1000 to the ANP people would be pretty angry.

> What prevented the authors of this article to spend $1000 to counterbalance Eich's contribution if they are so concerned?

So only people who pay for their rights deserve them. Noted.

Irrespective of the proposition in question, Mr Eich debited $1000 to the influence of politics. His financial position gives him more political leverage than myself.

Bang on, you read my mind.

Helloooo... This is in USA. Does the word "lobbying" ring a bell?

Lobbying is fine. After all, a representative government can't function if talking to your representatives is a crime.

The problem is not the right to deliver petitions. It's the practice of doing so with cash (or check!) included.

Huh, lobbying, in my view, these days is nothing but paying people lots of money to steer their decisions... Otherwise why bother doing it...

Because it's not about the $1000 (and you didn't honestly think it was.)

With your prescription of discriminated against minorities offsetting the donations of bigots to parties who would fortify or extend that discrimination, gay people would also have to worry about bankruptcy. There's at least 5 bigots for each gay person.

It's only a matter of time. Maybe universal gay marriage will not be achieved in my lifetime but it will be achieved. If people have power to bring it closer with their efforts or monetary contributions - they are welcome to do so, but it is still quite inevitable. This topic might hold relevance and controversy for now, but ultimately - it is not. Just another footnote in history.

> What prevented the authors of this article to spend $1000 to counterbalance Eich's contribution if they are so concerned?

Outrage is cheaper and gets more attention. Kinda like when a toddler throws a tantrum.

Depending on their sales it may not be cheaper.

> What prevented the authors of this article to spend $1000 to counterbalance Eich's contribution if they are so concerned?

Who says they didn't?

And if they did - good for them.

Did Eich imply that he wants special treatment because he donated - probably not.

Do the authors imply that they want special treatment because of this - it looks to me that way.

Again, they are free and welcome to boycott whomever they wish.

> Did Eich imply that he wants special treatment because he donated - probably not.

I'd say he likely wants special treatment for his particular brand of religious views.

> Do the authors imply that they want special treatment because of this - it looks to me that way.

What special treatment are they requesting?

I have a hard time understanding all the call for separating private and work. The issue brought by this post is not private (in the sense that the donations were public) and the purpose of the donation was to make a private view to pass into law, not just express some personal opinion.

Also, the position of a CEO on social issues has non negligible impacts on the organization. He won't block Mozilla from hiring gay people of course, but nobody would expect him to actively push gay peoples' rights inside the organization if these were not upheld enough. Or does Mozilla have full parity when it comes to married gays and married hetero couples ? Will married gay people get to work intimately with the new CEO (and not just as a token gay people in the team)?

These are all legitimate questions. Perhaps Eich won't be worse than anyone else on these issues, but now his public karma is negative. If from here Mozilla appeared to be championing gay rights and parity more than ever before, then I think team rarebit would revise their position. But until then their reaction, while emotionally charged, seems fair enough※ and sends the right message.

※ especially as in anyway they are bound to build for Mozilla's platform nor use Mozilla's products.

PS: From Mozilla's donation page : "At the heart of Mozilla is a global community with a shared mission—to build the Internet the world needs. Support Mozilla with a donation today—for a better web and a better world."

I think a lot of people really see Mozilla as organization with strong moral stance, and actually working towards making the world better. Visceral reactions on events like this one are the flip side of the coin.

First para is brilliant. Thanks for writing this

This is definitely one of those moral fashions [1] that Paul Graham wrote about:

"What scares me is that there are moral fashions too. They're just as arbitrary, and just as invisible to most people. But they're much more dangerous. Fashion is mistaken for good design; moral fashion is mistaken for good. Dressing oddly gets you laughed at. Violating moral fashions can get you fired, ostracized, imprisoned, or even killed."

Society has shifted on this issue, such that the traditional is considered unacceptable to hold; you're ostracized with negative labels should you hold the unfashionable position. This is precisely what TeamRarebit is doing to Brendan Eich: ostracizing him for his moral stance, one that has fallen out of fashion.

[1]: http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

"Society has shifted on this issue, such that the traditional is considered unacceptable to hold; you're ostracized with negative labels should you hold the unfashionable position..."

Couldn't you say the same thing about civil rights? Slavery? Colonization? At some point these ideas were considered 'OK' by society and then at some point they were considered 'Not OK'. Are these simply 'fashions' to you? I think PG's article is interesting and very relevant, but taking it and naming something a 'fashion' without studying it in the same depth as the article isn't pushing the argument forward at all.

Yes, they are fashions. Some of them may be good, some may be bad, but they are fashions. It is conceivable that if we find a planet with alien life, there will be calls for colonizaton, for instance. And it could be a good thing.

Let's play an intellectual game. Is it possible to imagine a sensible reason for Eich to hold the view he and others hold? If you are unable to imagine such a reason, it is because you are misunderstanding that position.

The Principle of Charity [1] says you should assume your ideological opponents' beliefs must make sense from their perspective. If you can’t even conceive of a position you oppose being tempting to someone, you don’t understand it and are probably missing something. You might be missing a strong argument that the position is correct. Or you might just be missing something totally out of left field.

I propose most people in this thread -- and indeed in the San Francisco-based startup culture -- do not understand the position Eich holds. And it does not hold to the Principle of Charity, choosing instead to ostracize and boycott and demonize with ugly labels.

Perhaps a fair way to approach this debate would be, "Assuming Eich does not hate gay people, why would he be opposed to redefining marriage?"

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

>Let's play an intellectual game. Is it possible to imagine a sensible reason for Eich to hold the view he and others hold? If you are unable to imagine such a reason, it is because you are misunderstanding that position.

Why is it that we have to imagine their reasons, when they cannot bother to imagine our reasons?

*I can actually "imagine" some of their reasons, my dad is a rabid fundamentalist and is very anti-gay, I just don't propose they are valid reasons.

We must be willing to consider another's position even if we perceive their unwillingness to consider ours. To do otherwise is a recipe for ignorance and stalemate.

Do we really think Eich hates all gay people? Do we really think his position is as simple as, "Well, I irrationally hate all gay people, therefore, I voted for Prop 8"?

I propose to you that Eich holds his position for reasons that are sensible to him, and not because he hates all gay people. If we are unable to afford him even that charity, we may in fact be more close-minded than our opponents.

Well, unfortunately actions speak louder than words. I have friends that swear up and down they aren't racist, but they judge people all the time based on color and often use terminology that isn't acceptable. Sometimes we have to reject people's claims and judge their arguments based on our own gut feelings and experiences. Reason cannot survive in a dishonest environment.

You do realize that you're going against what you just described as "moral fashion". Brave or suicidal? My advice: when going against current, use a throw away account, like me. Even when describing this, people are still thinking you're taking a stance :) humanity at its worse. Stupidity at its best.

As Paul Graham wisely pointed out, when the Inquisition demands to know, "Are you with us or against us?", it is safe to say, "Neither."

You might be surprised at just how little I care that there is some "logical" reason that preventing me from marrying whomever I love is worth $1000 to Brendan Eich.

Why does it matter what Eich believes?

If someone wants to take away my rights, it's not my duty to psychoanalyse them.

There are moral fashions. But this isn't one of them, because it's far from arbitrary. We aren't going to have some sort of sudden fashion back the other way, where people are suddenly against interracial marriage, or against black people voting, or against women voting.

They also aren't shunning him for his views. They're shunning him for his actions. He tried to hurt them; it is not unreasonable of them to refuse to support him or the organization he runs.

Discrimination on the basis of political stance is bigotry. There is no two ways about this.

Discrimination of what kind? They are not publishing an app in an app store. Are they discriminating against Mozilla? Are they blocking Mozilla browsers from their site? Are people being persecuted, imprisoned, or killed for using Firefox? Are they working to put Eich in an internment camp based on his beliefs?

The word "bigotry" is a very big stick to swing against two people who could be killed in many parts of the world based on who they are. Bigotry implies a more systemic persecution than the economic decision they've made here.

By way of comparison, I'm not "discriminating" against Sony based on my boycott of their products for pushing out rootkits to their customers.

They are actively working to disenfranchise Brendan Eich of his employment. They are doing this on the basis of his political stance. This is bigotry. They are bigots. What's worse, they're hypocritical bigots, because they're trying to pass this off as some sort of anti-bigotry stance.

All social justice is like this. It breaks down under the merest of scrutinty.

I believe Eich has and will continue to have his franchise. Voting, you see, being one of the civil rights guaranteed to us. Like marriage, it turns out.

Being a fancy CEO, though? That's not a civil right. Especially not if attempting to deprive gay people of their civil rights makes it hard to perform an important function of that fancy CEO job: the recruitment and retention of staff.

That's a very reductionist point of view that doesn't seem useful as an intellectual tool.

Bigotry is not just a description of actions people take but the context in which they take them. Eich, in the context of this specific economic transaction, doesn't belong to a marginalized group. These men who are withdrawing their app do. Eich has taken direct action against them and they are responding. In this case, I believe they could be considered to be defending themselves by trying to deprive people who want to do them harm economic opportunity. I'm pretty much okay with that.

So, yeah, I guess you could say they are bigots. But that train of thought doesn't seem to me to place this situation in any useful context other than "all social justice causes are bad". Am I missing something?

> They are doing this on the basis of his political stance.

They are doing this because he directly funded initiatives that withhold equal rights from them and treat them as less than human. You can hold views, even as CEOs, I don't agree with. Hell, you could donate to the anti-funds of almost anything I believe, as long as it is an equal battlefield. But civil rights aren't about ideology, they are literally whether or not you recognize other humans as being humans and deserving the same rights as you.

Political stance is one thing, but he then specifically took action to ruin their lives. They're not acting based on against what his stance is, but on the actions he specifically took that personally and demonstrably hurt them.

Huh. White power is a political stance. One widely reviled. So is antisemitism. So if I understand you rightly, you're basically saying that everybody is a bigot on a variety of formerly-controversial issues.

I guess if you want to define the word that way, sure. In which case, I'm proud to be bigoted against racists. But I think words are more useful when they don't include 99% of the population.

Every social justice warrior is a bigot by definition.

Thankfully, your kind is a very tiny percentage of the population.

I guess 87% of the population is pretty tiny in your world: http://www.gallup.com/poll/163697/approve-marriage-blacks-wh...

Also, I think it's awesome I get to qualify as a warrior by sitting in a cafe and pointing out basic legal facts to people. Pew pew! I'm a warrior! 'Scuse me while I go beat my chest and shop for bandoliers.

Uh, no. Political views are - presumably - matters of choice. Also, they're prone to regular change. In both regards, they are categorically different from distinctions of gender, race, orientation, etc.

Getting a sex change operation is a matter of choice, too.

Regular change. Can you not read?

When his "moral stance" directly affects your own quality of life and standing as a US citizen then it's probably more than just fashion, hm?

Well no, he has the exact same rights as any other citizen to vote and donate for whatever laws he prefers.

It's inappropriate to do various things that hurt people around you; but it's perfectly fine to vote and support laws that directly affect quality of life of people in both directions (surprise - pretty much all laws/propositions do!).

It's exactly the same as boycotting a company because CEO belongs to a really opposite political party - USA doesn't have any really opposite parties; but the rest of the world has seen quite a lot of such partisanism, and it ends up just as ugly as any other bigotry.

I think you missed the part where one husband in this couple was granted a green card due to marital status, and was able to immigrate to the US.

So there would be no or little recourse, much less voting.

Wow, understatement of the decade. Is that also true of the folks who wouldn't leave Woolworth's lunch counters a few decades back? I don't know how you, personally, feel on this issue, but designating people who love each other as second-class citizens isn't a mere fassion. It's a fucking atrocity, no less.

Point out that it is a fashion isn't to undermine the weight of the issue.

Rather, to call this issue a moral fashion rightly describes its fluctuation over the course of human history. If we are honest, tolerance of homosexuality to varying degrees has fluctuated as much as the age of consent. Greece once tolerated homosexuality, especially when practiced through pederasty, for instance. And that culture likewise thought it was the most advanced society ever to have existed, and, like many in this thread, could never imagine society moving in the opposite direction.

Eich has the misfortune of taking the side that has grown to be labeled heresy, and he is being ostracized for it. This is exactly the sort of idea Paul Graham spoke about in his modern heresies essay.

Would you also reject Tomas Jefferson as a founding father of America because he owned slaves? Should Martin Luther King also be rejected as an icon of the civil rights movement because he plagiarized material and had extramarital affairs with women. What people do or think in their personal lives and the value they add to a company are two different things. What about Nelson Mandella? Bill Clinton? Or all the other men with weaknesses, sins, mistakes, and flaws?

Sit down with me for 5 minutes and I'll find a whole bunch of personal things about you I don't like either, but should that affect weather or not I employ you?

> Sit down with me for 5 minutes and I'll find a whole bunch of personal things about you I don't like either

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." - Cardinal Richelieu

If Brian had funded a political campaign to deny voting rights to all people named Chris, you may be singing a different tune.

They outlined that they were personally affected by his political choices, and therefor hurt that Mozilla would promote him. This isn't about someone's personal flaws. It's about someone's actions affecting someone else personally and boycotting a company for not acknowledging that.

Seems valid to me.

I would write an article called "20 reasons why Brian should change his stance on Gay Marriage." and spread that all over the internet. It's not that their boycotting stance isn't valid, it's that I think it's not the best way to go about making the right kind of changes for the gay rights movement. You won't achieve anything by boycotting him because there's a massive amount of people just like him. Again, that's like saying I'm not supporting America because Tomas Jefferson owned slaves and there's no way a flawed man who supports slavery can create a country founded on "freedom". Despite Jefferson's flaws he still made the USA great. Like-wise, despite Brian's anti-gay stance he can still make Mozilla great. It's not Mozilla you should be hurting, it's Brian that you should be reaching out to. Mozilla and it's users are innocent so don't get them involved in all this.

You are picking people in the past and comparing them to the present.

Continuing your line of thought..So you are saying if someone had slaves today, you would condone that act and continue supporting other stuff they make? Sorry, I would not.

He's saying that morality is independent of context, and the idea of owning slaves was just as reprehensible in the past as it is today, it was merely more socially acceptable.

Much like Proposition 8 was, at the time.

Relevant link to Eich's suppport of California's Prop 8: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/04/business/la-fi-tn-br...

This is not something that I was familiar with.

An equally relevant link to Eich's response to the backlash: https://brendaneich.com/2012/04/community-and-diversity/

I support your decision to boycott, although I personally disagree with it.

I wish you would give Brendan the chance to repent.

First of all, and most importantly, it's unlikely they are going to shitcan him as CEO.

Second, he has not spoken about his motivations for donating to Prop 8. If he was doing so in pursuit of abolishing the marriage institution altogether, I consider that very different than doing it because he only wants straight people to marry. (Since this is a politically charged issue, I will say that while I am personally in favor of abolishing marriage altogether, I think actively working to deny gays the right to marry in the interim is an exceptionally absurd idea.)

Third, his views may have changed over the years.

If he came out saying he was wrong and donated 10x the amount he donated to Prop 8 to a LGBT charity, I would consider that a win. There are ways to make this right without shitcanning him.

> If he came out saying he was wrong and donated 10x the amount he donated to Prop 8 to a LGBT charity, I would consider that a win. There are ways to make this right without shitcanning him.

The authors addressed this point. From the article:

> If, months ago, he had apologized and said that he’s changed his mind, then this would be water under the bridge. He has not, and said he will not, so it’s too late in my mind. Any public change of opinion at this time would only be to ensure his new powerful position at the Mozilla foundation.

That does not seem like an unreasonable position.

So we don't get two threads on the same subject, I made a reply here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7461830

> That does not seem like an unreasonable position.

I don't think their stance is unreasonable, I just think there is a more constructive alternative.

Perhaps I'm missing something - how could donating to Prop 8 be in support of abolishing the marriage institution?

Full text:

Section I. Title

This measure shall be known and may be cited as the "California Marriage Protection Act."

Section 2. Article I. Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution, to read:

Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Sorry, it was a typo.

> I wish you would give Brendan the chance to repent.

They have, and he hasn't. This is mentioned in the article.

From the article:

> He has not, and said he will not, so it’s too late in my mind. Any public change of opinion at this time would only be to ensure his new powerful position at the Mozilla foundation.

I disagree with this, hence my post. I think if he puts his money where his mouth is, that good undoes his past failings. I don't think he is going to use Mozilla as a vehicle for promoting homophobia. Therefore, I see two options:

1) he leaves, Mozilla doesn't contribute to societal homophobia, and there is no monetary contribution.

2) he stays, Mozilla doesn't contribute to societal homophobia, and there is a monetary contribution.

(Option #3 where he leaves and also makes a monetary contribution is extremely unlikely to happen, so I will not list it here)

I am admittedly very pragmatic about these issues. I don't care if he is shamed by being forced out of the company. I don't think that really helps.

> Since this is a politically charged issue, I will say that while I am personally in favor of abolishing marriage altogether, I think actively working to deny gays the right to marry in the interim is an exceptionally absurd idea.

Which aspect of marriage are you referring to, the religious and/or legal ceremony?

I'm referring to the legal distinction between single and married people, and the benefits married people get.

> I'm referring to the legal distinction between single and married people, and the benefits married people get.

We need to be accurate here, "the legal distinction between married and unmarried couples". The benefits from marriage come from the legal process, so for unmarried couples to get the same benefits another equivalent legal process, or a new and universal process as a replacement would be required.

It seems that another legal process would be the answer, but only if it improves upon the process(es) that it replaces.

Why another legal process, when the end result is indistinguishable? Sounds like a convenient way to classify based on morality.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separate_but_equal

> Why another legal process, when the end result is indistinguishable?

That was my exact point of thought.

He had the chance. He pointedly didn't take it. https://brendaneich.com/2012/04/community-and-diversity/

Irrelevant of any feelings towards being gay or not.

Surely this is a form of oppression in itself. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, whether you approve of them or not, and so by effectively black-mailing others to conform to your perceived social 'right'.

I see this as a sad attempt at press. Having never heard of this company or product before.

Calling this a "form of oppression" is a bit silly. How are Brendan Eich's rights being denied here? How is Brendan being prevented from acting on his own beliefs?

These two people decided that they don't want to associate with an organization where the CEO is, in their opinion, anti-gay. That's entirely within their rights, isn't it?

As others in the thread said, action have consequences. One consequence of being publicly perceived as anti-gay is that gay people and their supporters may not want to associate with you.

If you actually read the article:

We will continue our boycott until Brendan Eich is completely removed from any day to day activities at Mozilla, which we believe is extremely unlikely after all he’s survived and the continued support he has received from Mozilla.

A quick interpretation would be "Mozilla should never pick someone who doesn't like gays."

That's against employment equality even though CEO is a unique position. But still, personal belief doesn't always mean the CEO will turn out bad and disrespect everyone else.

I have question for the founders: if you were told one of your employees doesn't believe in gay rights will you fire him?

That's against employment equality...

Is it though? Are homophobes a protected class? Would a company be forced at the point of a lawsuit to hire a goose-stepping neo-Nazi if he or she had impeccable credentials?

Is gay a protected class then? If the answer is no, then homophobes is not a protected class. If the answer is yes, then homophobes is a protected class in your definition.

Will I want to work with someone who is pro-Nazism? Probably not, but will I respect his belief? Yes. But will I use that to disqualify him from being my co-worker? No. I would be lying to say I wouldn't feel threaten to know I am working with someone who believe in Nazism, but I don't think that's enough to justify a demotion or firing.

> Will I want to work with someone who is pro-Nazism? Probably not, but will I respect his belief? Yes.

Why would you respect his belief? There's a difference between respecting his right to hold whatever belief he wants and respecting the belief itself. The former is true, and no government should punish someone for their beliefs. The latter is not true, and I am free to judge neo-Nazis however I wish. That judgement would include not wanting to do business with them, and I would not feel bad about it.

> Why would you respect his belief?

Maybe I should be clear.

"Probably not, but will I respect his [right] being a pro-Nazism believer? Yes."

I am not making this up. My revision is actually in the context of the original quote. I will respect his right without endorsing his belief. I can dislike him and may distant from him as much as possible...

Sure we all carry bias. If the whole organization is against Nazi hiring a pro-Nazi would be stupid because that can cause internal tension. But that being said, not aligned with gay right advocates is not in the category as aligning oneself with someone with extreme thoughts. I bet people disagree on abortion and religion and tons of other very controversial issues.

I don't think that's how protected classes work. "Person of color" is a protected class. "Racist" is not. "Christian" is (perhaps, I'm not sure) a protected class. "Person who hates Christians" is not.

"Christian" is a protected class. From Wikipedia[1], the list is:

- Race - Color - Religion - National origin - Age (40 and over) - Sex - Pregnancy - Citizenship - Familial status - Disability status - Veteran status - Genetic information

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

Should companies be allowed to deny jobs to communists? To people belonging to Muslim Brotherhood party of Egypt? To members of Greece's Golden Dawn? To freemasons? To members of German American Bund in 1939?

Hiring is supposed to be done according to credentials and explicitly ignoring belonging to a political party - and there shouldn't be any differences between major parties such as Democrats and minor parties such as American Nazi Party which apparantly was a real thing until 80ies.

But for a CEO, group memberships could easily be seen as part of his or her qualifications. I would see nothing wrong with boycotting a company that hired a neo-Nazi CEO, and I see nothing wrong with boycotting a company that hires a homophobic CEO.

No one is demanding that Brendan Eich be forced by the government to step down, they're doing things the market way, by speaking out and using whatever economic power they have.

What if the CEO of a major tech corporation was a Neo-Nazi? What if he spent his free time promoting Nazism, supporting the Holocaust, calling Jewish people sub-human, protesting outside of synagogues, etc.? Of course he would be professional and never bring in into work (and of couuursee he would never [openly] discriminate against Jewish employees, right? If a Jewish and gentile employee were both equally qualified he would obvious make a completely fair and non-biased choice for promotion...).

Obviously I'm stretching this some, I'm not claiming that $1000 to Prop 8 === being an open Neo-Nazi. However I'm asking you consider that maybe the political views of employees do matter some, and that this is a gray area where you can't completely claim that "All political activity should be protected" or "Employers should be able to fire anyone for any belief". Maybe you should try and have a little empathy for this person's partner who was essentially prevented from starting a business because he was gay, albeit indirectly, and see why this could make someone a little bitter against people fighting to keep that status quo.

It isn't a form of oppression. How someone can say that a CEO of a company is being actively oppressed, I'll never know.

I super disagree that this is a form of oppression. They're a small company who made a mobile game, and they're voicing their disapproval peacefully. Calling this 'oppression' is pretty melodramatic.

You can't be oppressed by someone who has no power over you. The powerful oppress the less-powerful, that's the definition of oppression. Speaking your mind (as the authors of the article did) cannot, in any way, constitute oppression.

They are not blackmailing anyone, that is an absurd statement in fact. If what they have done is blackmail, then leaving a negative review on a product or app is also blackmail. Tweeting about bad customer service also becomes blackmail. If this is blackmail then expressing any negative opinion at all is blackmail.

Oppression is a very strong, and inappropriate word here. It is a boycott of the products that are led by someone who has put effort into doing something you are against. CEO is more than just another employee. They are the leader, the face of the company.

Speaking out against bigotry is not 'oppression.'

This word is being used way too much today, disagreement does not necessarily entail bigotry. He could actively endorse anti gay marriage without strongly and unfairly disliking gay people, ideas, etc.

It's a majorly shitty decision though no doubt.

Equivocation is being used way too much today as well.

> black-mailing

Translation: not putting an app in an app store.

I don't know what it is about gay marriage that draws people in to this ridiculous witch hunt. I'm neutral on the issue because I feel it's complicated like every other polarizing topic, but to a lot of folks it's solid black-and-white, good-vs-evil. But the pro-gay-marriage crowd seems to go beyond that. To them, it's so black-and-white that one's not even allowed to hold the other view. These people don't even acknowledge the legitimacy of any other beliefs but their own and refuse to stoop to the level of debating the other side on intellectual grounds.

> It’s not a witch hunt.

You bet your ass it is. It's another in a string of incidents, including boycotting chick fil a for it's owner's beliefs, boycotting duck dynasty for that one guy's beliefs, boycotting starbucks for it's owner's beliefs, the list goes own.

Now this is not to take a particular stance on the issue. It's to say that dismissing the legitimacy of other's beliefs besides your own shows a pretty absurd level of intellectual hubris (not unheard of around these parts).

Why would anyone "acknowledge the legitimacy" of beliefs that would e.g. prevent them from visiting their spouse on their deathbed? There's no middle ground here.

Also, it's worth trying not to use the term "witch hunt" to describe attacks on a group which has held an oppressive majority for hundreds of years and which is actively continuing to attempt to deny the rights of a minority. The analogy does not hold.

A general word of warning. (Disclaimer I'm for gay marriage, but that is not the point of the following text.)

I have been subscribed to the main mailing list of the German Pirate party for four years now and from this very rich data set I can give you the following piece of insight:

Discussions about LGBT issues will invariably degenerate into pure horribleness. It might not be obvious to most people why this should be the case, but believe me, if there is only one single troll that knows one of the big red buttons to push, the whole thing goes off the rails.

I'm reeeally uncertain if I should do this, but to illustrate my point, I'm now going to describe one of those buttons: Many of the LG and B people are not really comfortable with the T people (and some are quite T-phobic!). A troll that identifies one of those anti-T LGB posters can "craft" a post that destroys any room that might have been there for meaningful discussion.

At least this has been my experience on that particular mailing list. While the conversational level of the HN community is fortunately well above that of said list, I already see some pre-pathologies which indicate that HN might not be immune to the LGBT-shitstorm-effect.

My personal feelings about this particular instance, without knowing any details are this: Guy I've never heared of before with anti gay-marriage history becomes head of Mozilla? Dude, show some heart-felt sensibility for the issue, tell everybody that either you've changed your views or that at least your professional actions in this regard will follow the broader community attitude, and then let's move ahead to other issues.

The majority / minority argument does not hold. Oppressed minorities are not always in the right. Arguments around gay marriage / politics / Brendan need to step back and argue the issues, not the size or relative social power of the groups involved.

I happen to agree with your side of the issue, but let's talk about the issue, not make it a David and Goliath straw man debate. The term "witch hunt" may or may not apply. As an example, we might say that during the French Revolution, the proletariat (oppressed majority, wat?) went on a witch hunt against aristocracy (minority holding majority power) and members of the royal court, regardless of their fault.

We can call this a witch hunt when same-sex-marriage proponents start guillotining the opposition in public squares, then ;)

More to the point, the David/Goliath straw man occurs at the point that someone says "witch hunt", invoking ideas of a prosecutorial mob hunting an innocent scapegoat down. Addressing the inappropriateness of the term directly is not a strawman (and additionally, I specifically addressed the content of the OP's argument in the first part of my post).

Unlike actual witch hunts - which were notoriously short on evidence - this episode has an actual smoking gun. Or more precisely, a smoking checkbook.

Are you saying that Brendan Eich's personal views are that of Mozilla's as an organisation?

No you nitwit, I was talking about the absurdity of calling the campaign against him a with hunt.

But now that you mention it, the organization - in overlooking this particular view - sent a clear signal that it takes the issue a good deal less seriously that a significant number of its stakeholders. That's starting to look like a major mistake.

"Nitwit". I guess Hacker News discourse devolves in a slightly more civilised fashion. To really show me I'm wrong, or have asked a particularly stupid question, next time consider stronger language.

Nobody boycotted duck dynasty because of someone's beliefs. A television network decided that it was probably bad for their bottom line to be seen to support someone who believes that black people were happier pre-civil rights.

Nobody boycotted chick-fil-a because of the owner's beliefs, they stopped giving the company money because they were made aware of the fact that some of that money would almost certainly support a cause they didn't want to support.

There are bright, shining lines between right and wrong. This isn't a fad, it isn't a witch hunt. When there is a minority being refused a right that the majority has, something needs to be done. This isn't hard.

> I don't know what it is about gay marriage that draws people in to this ridiculous witch hunt.

It's that we've seen this movie before.

> But the pro-gay-marriage crowd seems to go beyond that... These people don't even acknowledge the legitimacy of any other beliefs but their own and refuse to stoop to the level of debating the other side on intellectual grounds.

I reject your implication that because I am pro-gay marriage, I have refused to give other viewpoints any sort of legitimacy. I have, in the past, and have come to the decision that pro-gay marriage is the correct moral stance. You may disagree with me, but I am not ignorant or blind.

> It's to say that dismissing the legitimacy of other's beliefs besides your own shows a pretty absurd level of intellectual hubris

Why is Brendan donating $1000 to Prop 8 not "dismissing the legitimacy of other's beliefs", but a boycott is? Where do you think that money goes?

Neutral, eh? Good for you. What a bold stance. Are you also neutral on the topic of interracial marriage? Because the saga of gay marriage is basically replaying that story 50 years later: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia

Eich isn't in hot water for his personal beliefs. Indeed, as far as I know, he's never stated them. People are holding him accountable for his action, which was trying to keep gay people from their right to equality before the law.

What is a right? How are rights established? From BE's point of view, was a right a right, prior to being argued and established in law?

Equality before the law is a right. It is established in the constitution. For more, see the Michigan Marriage Amendment decision I've linked in several places in this thread; the judge explains things thoroughly and clearly. Many, myself included, view the legal enumerated rights as an expression of something deeper, but that's not universal.

We don't know what BE's point of view is, because he has refused to explain. But we certainly know what gay people believed, and what gay marriage proponents believed. And we know the effect of BE's actions on gay people which was to help keep them from their civil rights for a little while longer.

And I'm holding you accountable for trying to get him fired.

Oh gosh! Some anonymous coward is holding me accountable for something I'm not actually trying to do! I'm quivering.

You're responding to a guy who previously posted "How does being called a faggot hurt someone who is, in fact, a faggot?" [1].

Don't feed the troll.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6939266

Ah, missed that one. Thanks for the prompt; I should have recognized the trollishness earlier.

> including boycotting chick fil-a for it's owner's beliefs

Comparing Brendan to Chick fil-A is actually totally absurd comparison.

1) It wasn't the owner in the Chick Fil-A case, it was actually the Chick-fil-A organization itself that was taking anti-gay marriage actions. Those actions also went well beyond simple donations.

2) Even if it was simply the owner, the owner gets his money from customers. If he then spends than money in ways that negatively impact you then it is perfectly rational to take that into account in your purchasing decisions (eg, it seems perfectly rational to think "for $3 I get a chicken sandwich and $0.05 towards a cause that I don't like"). Brendan donated $1000 of his own money: the marginal success of Mozilla is extremely unlikely to have significant impact on gay rights. There was strong evidence to think that the marginal success of Chick-fil-A was going to have significant impact on gay rights going foward.

3) Chick-fil-A also used to force it's employees to Christian prayers before working (and it isn't clear whether they still discriminate likewise for Franchise owners: it settled out of court for large sums with several non-Christians who were treated negatively in this way). Chick-fil-A have taken actual hate-group actions as an institution, which seems completely unlike a single man giving a fairly small donation of his own money to a cause.

"I feel it's complicated like every other polarizing topic"

What's complicated about allowing people to do what they want as long they are not hurting others?

By saying "it's complicated" you are saying that you have some complicated thoughts about something that is absolutely none of your business, Why? I seriously want to know, I don't understand this obsession with what others do if it has no effect on you what so ever.

You are saying that you yourself should also not be free to marry who ever you want, do you propose to set up a jury to judge who can and cannot marry?

Please help me understand what's complicated about this issue.

Bingo. There's nothing complicated about this. Moreover, it's idiotic and / or ignorant to suggest otherwise.

Assuring basic equality under the law was the whole point of the 14th Amendment. And on this point, the law is absolutely, perfectly clear. People treat it in black and white terms because those are the terms that actually apply.

Indeed, it's no more complicated than "Should black people be allowed to vote?" or "Can we buy and sell women like slaves?"

Thought experiment: imagine a law that severely limited the power and abilities of straight white men, white men, or even just men. Imagine that law severely impacted your ability to participate in some major institution or process. Maybe you couldn't start a business. Maybe you couldn't pee standing up. Hell, pick anything. Imagine there were people who felt so threatened by your starting a business or pissing standing up, even if neither affected them. Imagine if another group of people criticized the businesses you started, held you to a different standard, said that some omnipotent being claimed that you had no business doing whatever this rule claimed you couldn't. Your inability to do this thing vastly and adversely limits participation in broader society.

Would you argue with every idiot who presented an objection? If you didn't believe in the omnipotent sky being, would you waste time debating? If someone wasn't in the oppressed group of straight white men, wasn't affected by your choice but decided that their moral code made them feel threatened, would you waste time with them? Or would you expect them to own their own issues? After all, we all have enough to deal with in our lives. We can't be expected to pander to every idiot who feels threatened by choices that don't even affect them (I assure you, no LGBTQ person is going to marry you without your consent. :P )

My minority group isn't as persecuted (visible disability) but I get _so sick and tired_ of being expected to debate with those who feel threatened or confused by my existence. At least my struggles are only employment/social-related. It'd suck if laws prevented me from marrying and having kids, and you'd better believe I'd waste no time arguing with any who oppose me.

> Would you argue with every idiot who presented an objection?

They don't even have to argue. Just ask questions. Questions that are meaningless. Or pose hypotheticals. Or pick at that one sentence and one word in that sentence that can be interpreted in multiple ways.

Or they'll just reply with your question with a lie...

> Would you argue with every idiot who presented an objection?

Why of course I would. Because I am right, because by answering this question in the affirmative, I've proven you wrong, which makes me right.

I'm a vaguely left-libertarian-ish person, so my view on gay marriage is that I cannot see a reason why it should not be allowed and, beyond that, it's pretty much none of my business. But I do find it difficult to draw a line at which marriage should not be allowed. People like to raise the issue of polygamy, and I can't honestly think of a good reason why polygamous marriage shouldn't be allowed either. The examples after that get more troublesome: should a man be allowed to marry his own daughter? How about siblings marrying each other? In the realms of absurdity, we might consider marriage to non-humans, to dead people, to inanimate objects or to imaginary beings (and, since this is HN, we should probably give serious thought to people marrying their devices, or at least the AIs that may inhabit them in the future).

Part of me doesn't really care - I have no particular interest in "protecting the sanctity of marriage" because I think that personal relationships are personal and don't require anyone else's validation. But I can't imagine that society as a whole would agree with me on that. For better or worse, we need some way of delineating what is considered to be acceptable marriage and what isn't, and this is largely an arbitrary choice. You can probably ground it in the notion of consent, which would rule out marriage to dead people, imaginary beings, non-humans (that we've encountered so far) and inanimate objects. It would still leave polygamous and incestuous marriage open, but maybe that's OK (and rare enough that nobody really needs to care).

So, as a disinterested party I can kinda see where the anti-gay-marriage people are coming from, in an anthropological observation sense - they're aware that an arbitrary choice must be made somewhere, they've made their choice and they don't see why they should change. If you truly believe that marriage is something that can only happen between a man and a woman, that it's sanctified by tradition and some ineffable spiritual wisdom, then you won't think of yourself as denying homosexual couples the right to marry. You'll be utterly perplexed by the fact that they want to - you'd see it as a doomed enterprise, people pretending to be what they cannot. The thing is, this has really nothing to do with what you think of homosexual people in general, you just believe that they can't marry, in much the same sense that they can't fly, shape-shift or shoot lightning from their fingertips. It just doesn't work! Weirdly, civil partnerships can still make perfect sense because there's an obvious reason for them to exist (people can still love each other and spend their lives together even if they're not, or can't become, married).

I'm probably being overly-charitable here. Some anti-gay-marriage people are probably homophobic bigots who just enjoy telling people what to do and punishing those who aren't exactly like them. Even the ones who have some internally-consistent reasoning behind their position and don't otherwise dislike or discriminate against gay people can be faulted for their sheer lack of empathy. In the end there is no point in trying to argue the specifics because everything hinges on whether you believe marriage between two people of the same sex is a legitimate concept. I'm a little bit ambivalent about this, because I don't really see a reason why there couldn't be some special club for straight people who want to commit to each other, and traditionally that's what marriage has been. I suspect, however, that there will be no great call for such an institution to be created, now that "marriage" is open to everyone.

Now, on the actual matter-in-hand, I don't think Brendan Eich deserves to be vilified. Not because I think he's right about gay marriage (I don't), but because I believe that people are entitled to think and act how they like when in private, and they should conversely be held to rigorous standards in their public conduct. We're all adults and we're all capable of putting our private beliefs aside when conducting a public role. The fact that Eich's views are public should actually make it easier to hold him to account for his public actions as Mozilla CEO. Debates about gay marriage are good for our society, but it's the debate about the issues that is healthy, not the attacks on particular individuals.

I must admit that his stance makes me think less of him as a person. But it doesn't really make me think less of him as a technologist, advocate for Mozilla, or CEO. If he uses his position to advance an exclusionary political agenda then I would think very much less of him as a CEO, and that's where the distinction between private beliefs and public actions is relevant for me.

For me, it boils down to the fact that we as a society grant or deny rights and privileges based on whom we place in category Married vs. !Married. As long as that category includes unrestricted hospital visitation, financial/insurance benefits, etc. then we have no business legislating it, and saying "Persons X and Y (and, hell, Z, Q and P) who truly love each other and consent to marriage are denied these things because they don't meet our definition of what marriage means" strikes me as no different than "Person X is denied the right to vote because their skin color is not the one we associate with sound mind and ability to vote." I'm sure there are a number of institutions that any group wouldn't consider marriage, and that's up to each individual to decide. But as soon as the state and institutions tangled marriage with equal treatment, they set themselves up for this struggle and have to address the inevitable inequity.

Anyhow, I realize you probably agree with this. My point is that the individual lines we draw aren't relevant when people's lives, health and financial livelihood hinge on whether or not society determines them married. This is a civil rights issue, nothing less, and it's hard to see support for an anti-gay-marriage organization as anything less than funding an organization that fights against equality. I wonder how we'd feel if the donation was instead for, say, a proposition that would bring back some aspects of Separate but Equal, and how the rhetoric would change.

For me, gay marriage is on a level of fundamental human rights and equality. That everyone should have the same rights under the law is literally one of the central beliefs that the United States was founded on. If we're giving benefits to couples who are married, gay couples should be entitled to those same benefits. [1] I don't see how anyone can say anything to the contrary. If I heard something remotely convincing then I would probably accept it, but I haven't. Largely the opposition of gay marriage is just bigotry because it makes someone uncomfortable. [2] The issue here is that those beliefs aren't legitimate, they just deny another human being rights that they should have.

[1] I'm not sure whether we should give benefits to married couples at all, but if we are then all couples should be eligible for them if they desire.

[2] Besides the opinion of a single person on HN, I've never seen anyone against gay marriage because they are against marriage as a whole. Its always that it offends them in some way.

Boycotting is a perfectly legitimate means of expressing one's opinion, in a manner that is in no way 'dismissing the legitimacy of other's beliefs'. If you believe it matters to an oil company where you pump gas, go for it; if they agree with you, then maybe they'll do something to win back your business. Hard to see that as a witch hunt...

For comparison purposes, it's analogous to those who spoke out against and worked against interracial marriage. If Mozilla were to promote someone to CEO that donated money to a group attempting to outlaw interracial marriage in California, you'd hear no end of it (and rightly so). Those who support equality in marriage laws see someone opposing equality in marriage laws as just as bigoted as someone opposing interracial marriage.

choosing not to spend your money at a company is far from a witch hunt

Going after opponents wallets is the only weapon they have left to get institutions to change their policies.

The owner of Chick-Fil-A is quite a wealthy man. He's not likely to notice twenty or thirty protesters in any way other than simple recognition. But, if you hit back at his wallet, he's more likely to notice. Not because he's a pompous jerk or anything, but because other people within and without the organization will notice.

This witch hunt you speak of cuts both ways. People on the left want to "out" every anti-gay person of any note. People on the far right want to out all the gay people and get biblical on them. Personally, I think we can all live with an outed billionaire or two. I'm pretty sure that a properly biblically punished gay man or woman wouldn't live long enough to see the headline about it.

Finally, there's not much reason for reason when someone is calling for your death or the death of your child or parent simply because they aren't heterosexual.

It's not intellectual hubris. It's not intellectual at all, and it has nothing to do with beliefs. It's emotional, because love is emotional. When someone tells a gay person that they can't marry the person they love, they are telling them that their love is not the same as straight people's love, that it's lesser. It doesn't matter if that's not what they meant to say, or if they have statistics and graphs to make some point about the effects on greater society. The inevitable conclusion of any position other than full marriage equality is that same-sex love is something different. To those that feel it, the statement is an insult pointed directly at one of the strongest emotions that any human can feel. It hurts tremendously.

Are you surprised by the way people react after someone insults one of the most precious and important parts of their lives?

I was unaware of this issue until today but I think Hampton is really great. And I think his position here is thoroughly defensible. How unfortunate this all is.

Edit: I see he is being accused here of blackmail and oppression himself. Wow. Fuck you guys.

I am sure this was a hard decision to make but this was the right one. It is hard to overlook one's past actions and afaik brendan has not apologized/redacted his stance.

BTW, Apple rejected quite a few gay apps in the past. They should strongly consider rejecting everything Apple made.

Gotta be extreme to get any attention. At least give Brendan a way out other than stepping down. Maybe he will apologize and try to make amends in light of his new responsibility.

He had the chance before, he punted on it: https://brendaneich.com/2012/04/community-and-diversity/

A way out... For what? Standing up for his moral convictions?

People have the right to stand up for their moral conviction, including Eich. However, other people have the right to judge others based on their actions, including the authors.

To clarify his "moral convictions" and promise to keep his personal beliefs from violating the will of the community as well as Mozilla's mission.

Eich's response to the publicity surrounding the donation in 2012: https://brendaneich.com/2012/04/community-and-diversity/

Their actions seem perfectly reasonable considering they are a gay, married couple in California. And they are just announcing why they are breaking off their association with Mozilla. As far as I can tell they aren't making a "with us or against us" stand against anybody else not following suit, so I can hardly begrudge them this.

This is an absolutely knee jerk reaction. Just the way I stand for a gay couple's right to remain together I also support Eich's right to oppose a government policy which he believes is not right. I do not think anyone should boycott Eich or his organization because of the opinions which he holds about an issue that has nothing to do with his organization.

Also please do not paint the Gay marriages as some kind of black & white issue. There are plenty of subtle differences here. Traditional marriage laws which gives so many benefits to couples were designed with an assumption that marriages are only between man and woman. We can not mindlessly extend them to all kind of marriages.

Just the way I support gay marriages, I also support man-woman-woman or man-woman-man or [man|woman|] relationships also. Does that mean if an American man marries 3 Arab women all of them should get a green card ? Should a person with two wives be given more tax benefits ? What happens to parent's property distribution when brother marries his sister ?

The only moral position I feel worth taking is that government should protect individual liberties which involves getting into any kind of partnership among consenting adults. Beyond that everything has shades of grey.

Good luck finding a browser where the ceo or vps behind it agree 100% with anyone's views.

Unless you can point out that his (asshole, imho) views affected how he worked for Mozilla, than doing what you are doing is as bad as people that fired or did not purchased from companies supporting gay rights.

Easy, the dude openly and activly opposes the basic legal equality of gay people. Given that he runs the place, that creates a hostile working for gay people. End of story.

> Given that he runs the place, that creates a hostile working for gay people

That's a bit of an assumption.

I wouldn't necessarily do the same thing but I can understand why they did it. It can be really really hard to stomach doing work that in anyway benefits somebody so opposed to something that fundamentally defines you as a person.

Boycotting over this issue is reasonable. However, I hope that the author also understands that different people can have freedom to express differing views, in a private capacity.

In my experience, anyone expressing any viewpoints other than a pro-LGBT one are vociferously attacked, which again would be fine if the tone was more reasonable. People who fight for LGBT rights were once treated with extreme disrespect and abuse. It sadly still occurs. But now the shoe is on the other foot: I think it's odd that those who were previously mistreated start mistreating others when they gain acceptance.

ComputerIndustryBlacklist.com is availble as of writing if someone was looking for a side project. Considering the professions involved, I'm sure we can do better than a bunch of Hollywood execs.

Seriously? I understand this is pretty emotional topic for a lot of people here, but this is just absolutely ridiculous.

I just blacklisted you in my mind for unironically proposing that.

Let me get this, if some one donates his own money to a totally legal cause should be fired?

This has a name, is called extortion, I would definitively boycott Firefox if they remove this person.

I should start this off by saying I believe gay couples should be allowed to get married. I cannot fathom what reasoning you can use to say that gay people should not be allowed to marriage. However, the more I learn about the topic, the more I realize it's actually very complicated.

With that being said... Marriage seems screwed up. Why do we have unions of two people? Why don't we allow the union of three people? Or more? Where do we draw the line? What if some guy/gal wants to marry his waifu/husbando, or another person wants to marry their car?

People say stuff about the sanctity of marriage, but it seems like a horrible joke. Look at divorce rates! Traditional marriage looks like a joke.

I'll admit I'm not very well educated on the topic, I'd love to hear the reasoning for these limitations. Maybe it would make sense to just break out the benefits [1] into more types of unions. For example, I can see how you might not want to allow a 5 person marriage where only 1 person has citizenship in the US; then you would have four people gaining citizenship at the same time.

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

I find it fascinating how so many people are content to crucify Mozilla for appointing as a CEO a man who had the sheer gall to contribute to a PAC opposing gay marriage.

Yet every time Rand Paul gets brought up his own opposition to same-sex marriage doesn't seem to draw 2 separate 200+ comment HN threads dedicated to how morally bankrupt he is. Is that simply because opposing the NSA is more morally noble than building an open browser that we feel inclined to overlook his baggage?

Better yet, what about people who support the Republican Party. As recently as April 2013 (i.e. not even a year ago) the Republican Party re-affirmed (unanimously) their opposition to same-sex marriage in their party platform. If you donate to or support a GOP candidate you are opposing gay marriage just as surely as if you'd funded Prop. 8 yourself.

It's for this reason that it's very important to separate a person's own political preferences from professional duties to the extent possible.

And since I apparently have to be worried about pitchforks I'll pre-emptively make clear: I'm proud to support, and have supported, equality of gay marriage rights.

I can't believe this absurdly tiny donation to a single organization, 6+ years ago, has produced so much anger. This seems pretty ridiculous to me, no matter what the organization.

Do you honestly think the amount of money donated is the issue here?

So this thread is a good candidate for the "pending" feature (it has rapidly and predictably become toxic), yet it doesn't seem to be turned on here...

pg disabled it site wide.

Right, with the caveat that it would be turned on per-thread, as needed.

Ahh, I hadn't read that part. I thought it was just disabled for the time being. Thanks. =)

I don't think that the reaction of these people is proportional to what's happened. The CEO of an organisation supports a cause that he wants in a private capacity, and the people at Firefox Marketplace are conflating this guy with what Mozilla does. Mozilla isn't this CEO, and this CEO isn't Mozilla. Would you boycott the US constitution because a couple of the authors owned slaves?

There is no "except for gays" part in the TOS or anything, but they decide to go full "except for Mozillians" over one person's acts, who acted not as a will-be-CEO, or as a Mozilla member, but as a single civilian individual. Technically, they are doing against Mozilla what they think Mozilla could be doing against them, but it doesn't.

As Uncel Dolan once said: Okei, bai

It's not like he hasn't been at the company all along in a management capacity. I don't see how this changes anything or why anyone should choose now to retaliate as opposed to any other arbitrary time.

boycott javascript as well?


I'm okay with that.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendan_Eich Brendan Eich (/ˈaɪk/; born 1961)[1] is an American computer programmer and creator of the JavaScript scripting language. He is the chief executive officer at the Mozilla Corporation.

Oh too late :p.

Misdirected rant.

When you're attempting blackmail, you need to ensure that your hostage has value to your victims that is commensurate with your ransom demand.

You have a shitty puzzle game that's getting "thousands of downloads" and you want Mozilla to fire their CEO over that.

Not going to happen. We can do without your shitty puzzle game, thanks.

It's not just them or their puzzle game. It's not just gay people either. It's everybody who wants everyone to be treated equally and not be denied their humanity. The CEO's values fly in the face of Mozilla's values. That's why he should be shown the exit door.

They're certainly not treating Brendan Eich equally.

Discrimination on the basis of political stance is bigotry, too.

Their position is extremely hypocritical, and by defending it, you become complicit in their hypocrisy.

How are they not treating Brendan Eich equally? He's the bigot here who wants to deny them happiness, not the other way around.


stop marginalizing this issue by calling it a "political stance." Hitler's "political stance" was to get rid of jews. Political stances affect real lives. Get your head out of your ass.

Goodbye, Firefox Marketplace?

All right, goodbye... some marginal puzzle game.

The part these folks don't get is that their tantrum is not affecting Brendan Eich as much as it's insulting to the fans of their game (whoever they are). They're trying to sic their fans and us against Mozilla with their actions.

Prop 8 was justly overturned. It was a battle worth fighting. But we're all equal now. So do we owe these two fools our support right now? Is this "battle" they're starting worth fighting? What's the cause? To prove we don't take kind to them folk like Brendan Eich round 'ere?

Hell no. Part of equality is that I, Mozilla and our society as a whole shouldn't feel the need to care more about the games (literally and figuratively) of these two guys than we care about anyone else out there, now that we're equal.

I don't care about "your history", I don't care about your wedding photos, I don't care about any of that. To me, you're just two average folks with a crappy puzzle game. Might be gay, straight, white, black, red, brown, tall, short, I don't care. Your cheap outrage doesn't mean anything more than usual to me just because you're gay.

I'm equally indifferent.

Irony at its best.

Why is this ironic?

Because it's like rain on your wedding day

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