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Eich was actively trying to stop what many people think should be a human right. He should face flak, and get a hard time over it, they should threaten his position. Even if they don't get him out of CEO it will make the next idiot that's high up in a company think twice before donating to stop human rights.

(touching this issue with all due care as not to call in the activists; read all the way through before replying)

Redefinition of marriage is not a human right, sorry. I can't decide I'd like to marry my work and have society accept that as marriage. Marriage has a definition, that up until now hasn't included gay couples. Changing that is not trivial, is not a law of nature and is not supportable on human rights grounds.

Let's, for the sake of argument, assume that gay couples are already free to live together and enjoy the protection given to married couples: inheritance, hospital/prison visiting rights, IRS deductions, [whatever social right I may be missing]. I know that is not the case; bear with me.

Now, imagine that a group wants to reserve the right to call marriage limited to a long term commitment between man and woman. Also imagine that gay couples want to call their long term commitment a marriage.

Now, you have an unsolvable problem. Both groups may argue that it is their right to define what marriage is all the way to the end of times. The problem is mostly with the naming of the concept; it is not with rights attributed to gay couples. Framing the discussion around the concept is actually hurting LGBTQ movements.

My personal opinion? Grant all, and I mean all rights to gay couples that classic couples have. Use the first-come-first-served rule and maintain the term marriage to mean a classic family. Create a new term for gay couples.

Give it two generations and this whole shout war will subside, and by then everyone will naturally call gay couples married couples, just like any other. In the mean time, important goals can be reached faster (like visiting rights).

I don't accept this as "redefining marriage." For one thing, the definition has changed throughout history. "Redefining" is a talking point engineered by bigots when the fact is that gay marriage affects straight marriage not a whit. It's orthogonal.

Straight folks just want an exclusive right to define it, and on that basis deny that right to other people. Well, sorry, but nobody ought to have that exclusive right, especially when it's little more than a fig leaf to deny privileges to a group of people. We all know the real reason. It's religious, which just doesn't hold any water, and everybody knows that.

And your remedy is "separate but equal." Non-starter.

So it's not about words... or is it?

> "Gay couples have been allowed since 2005 to enter "civil partnerships", conferring the same legal rights as marriage, but campaigners say the distinction gives the impression that society considers gay relationships inferior."


Society DOES consider gay relationships inferior in many places, unfortunately.

Discrimination exists, and this same "different name" concept has existed, with socially damaging results, in the past:


Yes, and under Islam the punishment for simply being gay is DEATH - stoning, hanging and beheading - so why all the faux outrage at Brendan Eich instead of protesting outside mosques and embassies?!

If we exclude all the practical and legal aspects that are satisfied by a civil union, marriage is a ritual, a cultural custom. Its value and purpose lie in the symbolism ascribed to it. But customs aren't rights and they don't have to be inclusive.

What has been the symbolism of marriage in our culture? Part of it is definitely gender-neutral: celebration of a couple's love and their commitment to each other. But it has also been about the particular dynamic and beauty of a relationship between a man and a woman, including procreation. This part is very important to many people and it is taken away if the custom of marriage is changed to include gay couples.

I think this is a legitimate cultural dilemma where both sides can be empathized with. Opposing gay marriage (but not legally equivalent civil unions) can be a legitimate position that doesn't necessarily imply any sort of intolerance or hostility towards gays. Moreover, it is intolerant not to respect this position. I find it unacceptable for people to be ostracized and disenfranchised just for wanting to preserve a custom which they hold dear and which is part of their cultural identity.

You may think it's all just academic, but I'm actually convinced that a significant proportion (though probably not the majority) of gay marriage opponents isn't anti-gay. The unnecessary polarization of the debate doesn't serve good to the gay community either, as they feel more threatened than they should - such as in the case of Brendan Eich becoming Mozilla's CEO.

As for me, I think marriage shouldn't to be sanctioned by the state any more. Civil unions for everybody and let the cultural stuff be figured out organically.

Are you aware that prohibition of same-sex marriage in English legislation is a recent thing? It was only written into law in 1971.


Marriage is tweaked when needed.

Actually, same sex unions were illegal under Roman law, even before Rome adopted Christianity.

"Separate but Equal" has been tried before. In Brown v. Board of Education - "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal". Same can be said of marriage, it's impossible to attain equality in a separate "civil union" status. Also - marriage has been been redefined many times, it's certainly hasn't historically been immutable.

Ah, separate but equal. Why didn't anybody think of that?

Oh wait, they did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separate_but_equal

Do not try to conflate etymology with racial segregation. It is dishonest and an obvious trick.

I'm not conflating it. I'm saying that the logic is exactly the same. And that it doesn't work, because the solution is not to further institutionalize discrimination just because some people can't cope with equality.

Come on, he didn't fund the war in Uganda. I don't share his views or anything but I don't see why "not liking the gays" or whatever should have any influence at all on whether or not he's suitable to run a tech company. It's not a political office.

He didn't "not like the gays". He helped keep gay people from their civil rights and harmed gay families.

The relevance to the CEO job is that he is a) boss of everybody at Mozilla, and b) the public face of Mozilla to customers, donors, partners, and the public. Having actively worked against the civil rights of gay people gives both groups cause to question their involvement, and has to make some employees nervous that they will face the same sort of discrimination at work that they have faced elsewhere in their lives.

He has a large say in the benefits and culture of the company he's going to be running. If he doesn't believe gay people should have all the rights and protections of straight people, how are they supposed to feel about the future of their benefits and culture of the company they work for?

Also, it's not about "not liking the gays". It's about things like letting gay partners have the same rights in medical cases of their spouses as straight spouses. It's about child custody, death benefits, and lots of other very important things that may not be a war in Uganda but they are massively important and life-changing for the people involved.

> but I don't see why "not liking the gays" or whatever should have any influence at all on whether or not he's suitable to run a tech company.

If a person in a position of power over others (hiring/firing/promoting) has openly held views of discrimination against a certain group of people, it is a problem. It doesn't matter if he's the president, or a CEO of a tech company.

Of course, its entirely possible that he doesn't let his views impact his work or the way he treats his employees.

What if his contribution wasn't because of his personal beliefs, but was out of business consideration? Perhaps Mozilla pays more in benefits for employees that also list dependents and so to help protect "the bottom line" he is resisting paying out more in benefits even if we disagree with how he is "saving" the company money (by preventing gay marriages).

To some degree, CEO is a political position. It is not so surprising that, if you are gay, or even if you are heterosexual but support gay rights, the publicly stated views of your organization's CEO would have an effect of your sense of belonging at that organization. I believe that it's unlikely that Eich's political views will ever affect his decisions for Mozilla, but they can certainly affect Mozilla's culture.

I don't share his views or anything but I don't see why "not liking the blacks" or whatever should have any influence on whether or not he's suitable to run a tech company. It's not a political office.

So if he donated to the KKK, would you still think "not liking non-white people" or whatever should have any influence on whether or not he's suitable to run a tech company? It's not a political office.

Just so you understand, you're comparing the KKK to Prop 8 supporters.

The hullabaloo 50 years ago about interracial marriage followed a very similar course to what's happening today: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia

For a long time, everybody was opposed, but now it's just fine with most people:


Hardcore racists now know that talking about "miscegenation" will get them ostracized. So yeah, the KKK is a pretty reasonable parallel here.

I think one of the big problems is that he is head of Mozilla which has a reputation of being a do good organisation. Having someone who did bad (as some people would say) isn't really in line with that

Well, we're talking about real people with real families who want to be able to have equal protections under the law and look out for themselves.

It may not be "the war in Uganda", and it may not affect you personally, but it's certainly a critical issue for some people.

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