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OkCupid urges users to abandon Firefox (okcupid.com)
205 points by thu on March 31, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 390 comments

And if this doesn't work, eventually when you try to message a Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, or other religiously-observant person from a denomination whose leaders publicly disapprove of homosexuality, you'll see a message from OKCupid like:

Religion isn't normally the business of a website. But you've expressed an interest in dating someone whose religion denies equal rights to gay people. Sure, this person may seem OK, and may even have their own opinions, but the leaders of their religion spread hatred, and it pains us to send even a single quantum of relationship happiness towards people who still affiliate with that religion.

If you still want to date them, you can click the link below, but wouldn't you really rather date the following matches, who we've determined from their public and private questionnaire answers better reflect OKCupid's approved religious and political values?

Seriously, I would have expected a dating website to have a deeper respect for the often-arbitrary reasons individual beliefs deviate from the norms of their family, employer, or community.

Today, it's being anti-gay-rights is acceptable to lots of people. 50 years ago, being a racist was acceptable to lots of people. Would you work for or buy products from a CEO who was an unapologetic racist just because his beliefs were a product of his family/community?

A good question to ask: If you think we will evolve to the point where gay rights are a given, what should we do right now? Should we be respectful for these often-arbitrary beliefs or should we try to make people/companies with these beliefs uncomfortable (but in kind/respectful way)? Honest question.

It's the urge-to-punish that I find objectionable, applied with increasing levels of indirection, and in spheres of life that should be consciously firewalled from religion/politics.

Mozilla is clearly a very inclusive project and a pro-LGBT workplace, which also does a ton of good on other issues. So what's "kind/respectful" about boycotting all of Mozilla, because of a one-time outside-the-workplace political donation by one manager?

The boycott tactic says: "bend to our preferences or we'll shun/nullify/punish you totally, not just in the zone of disagreement". That's the same kind of zero-tolerance orthodoxy-enforcement that drives censorship or war-making. Look at the "enemies" language OKCupid uses!

I prefer instead the logic of coexistence, and cooperation on common interests, even during the deepest of disagreements. That's important, because in our reasonably-wealthy, mostly-free society, every remaining political disagreement involves difficult issues of identity, rights, and morals.

I'm hypertolerant. I buy from, and do work for, and consume the rhetorical/cultural output of, people I vigorously disagree with all the time.

But also, I don't really buy anything "from a CEO". I don't even know the names (much less the religions or political sympathies) of most CEOs heading firms that supply my daily needs. This goes equally for local businesses: at a restaurant operated by a Catholic family, my 1st question will be, "what are the specials?", not, "have you publicly renounced the Pope's regressive stances on social issues?"

Many communities have already evolved to the point where gay rights are a given. In those places it's time to be gracious winners! As easy and fun as it may be to dig up the corpse of Proposition 8, and shoot it in the head again and again, there are plenty of live battles on similar issues elsewhere.

I'd prefer California (and our industry) be a positive example of how, after gay marriage is recognized and normalized to become "no big deal", everyone can still get along. Not an example of how retributive anger, and the appetite for economically-punishing losing dissenters, never ends.

More likely his (assumed) belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman stems from ignorance and his religion instead of bigotry or hate. And while that doesn't negate the harm that his donation caused: please stop comparing him to racists.

You don't know Brendan, I don't know Brendan, nobody in previous threads comparing him to fucking racists or the Nazis knows Brendan. It's disgusting, please stop.

>Should we be respectful for these often-arbitrary beliefs or should we try to make people/companies with these beliefs uncomfortable (but in kind/respectful way)? Honest question.

You should take the moral high ground and send him a personal communication detailing how his donation has caused harm.

No one's asking you to respect his belief, though, but this is just majorly unfair to everyone else who has contributed to Mozilla.

Is a racist hateful? My grandmother was a racist and was a really good/kind women who dedicated much of her life to helping others (including people of color). She didn't treat other races hatefully, but she did have warped beliefs about other races- "stemming from ignorance and her religion instead of bigotry or hate" (your words).

I didn't compare him to nazis, skinheads, or other violent/hateful racists. You shouldn't equate racism with hate.

In short, I think it's a fair comparison. Right now, I don't think he's a hateful person though more information could change my mind.

Not sure what religion you're referring to, I'm aware you were using the parent's words but you were using them. So what religion do you think influenced your grandmother to be racist?

Christianity. There were plenty of racists back in the day who used the bible to support their views: https://www.google.com/search?q=biblical+support+for+racism

Though you could step beyond my/the parent comment's literal words to get to the gist of the point: While they deserve some sensitivity because they are a product of their religion/upbringing/culture, they don't get a free pass (google "moral relativism" if you want to see a mess of discussions about this).

> You don't know Brendan, I don't know Brendan, nobody in previous threads comparing him to fucking racists or the Nazis knows Brendan.

I know Brendan. I met him on a number of occasions while working at Mozilla and interacted with him on many more. I think the comparison to racism is completely valid. I don't think he's a bad guy (he was always quite cordial with me) but his actions caused harm to a large number of people; I don't think that's okay.

What actions did he take besides donating $1,000 to Prop 8?

What other actions does he need to take? Passing prop 8 harmed people.

I didn't mean to imply otherwise: the phrasing of but his actions caused harm to a large number of people led me to believe there was something else that occurred of which I was unaware.

It's his inactions that have also caused problems. Refusing to change his beliefs. Refusing to justify his unchanged beliefs. Refusing to explain why he did what he did and what outcomes he intended. Refusing to respond to anyone's valid criticisms and questions. Refusing to apologize, but instead issuing a cynical, verbally acrobatic non-apology apology, that backflips and dances around the burning issues. Refusing to step down after he's caused damage to the Mozilla project.

He created Javascript

How is it valid? Have you talked to him personally about his beliefs? He's offered to share them with anyone he meets in person.

Fortunately for us, we have the opportunity to form our opinion of him by the actions he takes rather than the words he uses.

Again: Believing that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, because marriage has a religious connotation to them, is not bigotry.

It's a stupid fucking belief, and it leads to seperate but equal bullshit, but it's not homophobic on its own.

Except all marriages are civil marriages - and the government has to treat all equally. that is all. Your church, temple, or mosque can be as exclusionary and ignorant as they want to be. that's fine, and protected free speech. But the government shouldn't give rights to some and not all (inheritance, consent, tax breaks etc).

Well, no, that's the point.

There are civil unions, and there are marriages - and if it was simply about "rights" and "benefits", then people wouldn't give a c*ap which group they were in.

However, even though they have civil unions (in many countries/states), they also want to redefined marriage.

I'm not saying that's wrong or right - that's an argument I won't go into here.

However, to try to pretend that this is anything but redefining something is pretty deceptive.

Maybe they'll win, and we will redefine marriage. Who knows.

You keep saying this throughout the thread. You are misinformed. Marriage and civil unions are legally different things with different rights, responsibilities, and scope.

They are legally the same in Connecticut and other states. Not all, but in some. But it's not equal in the "institutional" sense so we should just redefine marriage in states instead of building civil unions with the same framework as marriages and have two seperate but equal legal frameworks.

Fortunately, momentum is building for marriage equality here in Georgia. Maybe this state isn't so bad after all. The editor of the local small town paper even came out in support.

Marriage and civil unions embody the same legal rights in the US (at least, in the states that they were created so far), at issue is some people beliefs that marriage as in institution should not be changed. And I don't agree with that, "seperate but equal" is personally unacceptable to me.

I'm just trying to explain what his (assumed) beliefs are, and pointing out that his donation and beliefs shouldn't automatically label him as "anti-gay."

Says who? This is such a weird statement. These people are treating gays unequally, why do they get a pass if they are choosing to follow homophobic dogma?

If a religion said black people were cursed and had no souls, there wouldn't be so much hemming and hawing over whether or not they were racist. (Articles about the Mormon church all mention its "racist past".)

Opposing gay marriage [1] is a sign of bigotry and hate, by that fact alone. It's akin to excusing white supremacists in the 1950's for segregating blacks and whites and underfunding black schools because their opinions were religiously motivated (and most claimed a religion as one of the reasons--children of Ham, and all that) and because they ignorantly believed blacks were inherently intellectually inferior. Nope, no hate or bigotry at all there.

[1] With a sliver of a possible out if you support ending all legal recognition of marriage.

From a well-known gay British art critic, writer and broadcaster. Is he a hateful homophobic bigot too? Obviously he does not represent the whole gay community, but it does serve to highlight how the abusive language directed towards Brendan and the call for a boycott are a complete over-reaction.

Why I will never be converted to gay marriage

...the recent institution of civil partnerships seemed to be the final necessary reform, giving homosexuals the right to inherit each other’s property, just as may a man and his wife; and if they want a family, there is now no barrier to their adopting children – in the case of homosexual men, so long in error bundled together with paedophiles and pederasts, an astonishing recognition of moral responsibility.

Why then do they and lesbians demand the right to marry? Indeed, how many of us have made that demand? One in 20? One in 10? Most of us... are content with civil partnerships and have not pleaded for gay marriage. But every minority has within it a core of single-issue politicians and protesters who are never satisfied and always ask for more, and homosexuals, both male and female, are no exception.

Since the institution of civil partnerships there has been no impediment to their celebration with a party as extravagant as any wedding, but not all homosexuals are so exhibitionist. Most of us are content with what we now have within the law, and are happy to respect the deeply-held belief of sincere, thoughtful and informed Christians for whom marriage is the one sacrament in which we cannot share.

We have wasted our resources on the wrong campaign – the battle still to be won is against prejudice, the most insidious of enemies.


This pattern of thought is not new as noted by another commenter but beyond that, it is dismissive. If, and a big if would be given should marriage be a truly sacred multi generational ceremony. It's not, it began with ownership of people and is presently accompanied by a farce of a concept that diamonds are actually worth anything.

If you could look beyond that joke of a concept you can see it's really about EQUAL rights, not about samesies.

To some the concept of marriage means something, to others it's a way to get insurance or better tax deals. This debate is about equal rights. period.

As a side note, the only real argument i've heard against same sex marriage was it opens the doors to lawsuits, because if you have the same rights you can be sued you when you infringe them. And that's what the true opponents of equal rights fear.

pps the only thing about the quote that makes any sense is it is wasted resources, this should not even be a debate.

Zora Neale Hurston supported segregation. Would you argue that segregation wasn't racist?

In many countries what separates a Civil Union (that may in fact also be between Man and Woman) and Marriage are tax benefits an easy fix would be to just tie the tax benefits to something else, like the fact that you are raising children.

>Opposing gay marriage is a sign of bigotry and hate, by that fact alone.

No, it is not. One can actually have empathy with gays and believe that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

I don't agree with those beliefs, but I'm speaking from experience that there are many people who believe that marriage has a very religious connotation.

Can you please cite a single interaction in which Brendan has looked down upon someone personally due to their sexual identity?

When he donated money to remove a law in order to deny gay people their human rights.

You can't just slap "but it's my religionnnnn" on something and call it a day. It's like you haven't bothered to read the rhetoric that right-wing politicians used in the segregated South or apartheid-era South Africa.

I'm not saying you should respect his beliefs. I'm saying you should stop calling him a bigot because you don't know what he actually believes, and don't have any evidence that he's homophobic.

All we know is that he donated $1000 to reaffirm, in law, that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

Perhaps he believes that the state should remove all recognition of marriage and just recognize civil unions going forward for everyone with the benefits from marriage.

We don't know, because he hasn't talked about his beliefs. And honestly, I don't believe they're that important when Mozilla has reaffirmed their strive for equality.

> Perhaps he believes that the state should remove all recognition of marriage...

Just a heads-up, this is a strawman developed by anti-same-sex-marriage proponents to provide a possible (though not plausible) reason other than denying people their rights why someone might oppose same-sex marriage (and you also have to buy that someone who wanted to grant same-sex couples those legal right would vote/donate/campaign/etc to deny them).

If you're going to assert it, you need to have specific evidence that the individual in question actually believes that.

I used the modifier "perhaps", which was followed by acknowledgment that we don't know his beliefs (because he won't talk about them except in person.)

Brendan is (or was at the time of donation) ignorant, there's no sense in disputing that. I'm just tired of people labelling him as anti-gay, bigot, homophobe, etc.

Perhaps you're an apologist for bigots.

I know him. You're wrong. He's an unrepentant homophobic bigot.

Marriage is not really a human right anyways, apart from the symbolic gesture the state grants priviledges like tax benefits, adoptions rights and so on. Typically the state has to have some kind of justification for granting priviledges in this case it was probably motivated by religion, but it could also be tied to potential child production / child care.

Ideally laws would be reformed in such a way that the priviledges granted today are tied to something other than you are a man and woman and want to marry. It could be just you are two or more people who want to marry. In my opinion things especially tax benefits should be tied to the fact that you are actually providing a service (like raising kids, your own or adopted, but maybe just caring for each other financially is enough).

Really, denied them their human rights?

I think you might be overblowing the horn just slightly there.


Nobody is being oppressed.

In most progressive countries, civil unions are available, which confer exactly the same benefits and rights as a traditional marriage.

In fact, in many countries, you don't even need to do that - simply having a de-facto relationship will be enough.

So basically, it's about a word - in this case "marriage", which has traditionally been between a man and a woman, they want to redefine it to include any two humans.

I'm not saying that tradition is "right" just because we've done it that way for thousands of years - maybe it's "right" that words should change over time.

However, to try to claim the moral high ground by making disingenuous comparisons to Apartheid is pretty disgusting for all those that actually suffered through Apartheid.

What next? Comparisons to the pogrums?

Not overblowing at all. Marriage is a human right. Since you're in such an affected high dudgeon over apartheid [1], here's a question for you: was the ban on interracial marriage something anti-apartheid activists blew off as just a jolly good time that's not at all oppressive, or did they consider it part and parcel of an oppressive system?

[1] An aside: Do you know anything at all about apartheid? Did you actually protest against it? Do you you know about the deep links between the LGBT-rights movement and anti-apartheid movement, which was a factor that led to South Africa's being the only constitution in Africa, and one of the first in the world, to give formal equal rights to the LGBT community and subsequently legalize gay marriage?

Well, your point is actually a logical inequality - apartheid was against the idea of interracial relationships, married or not.

It's not exactly like these interracial couples were offered a "union" which conferred the same rights, but don't call it a marriage.

But even if they were, it's still not close to the current battle over gay "marriage".

For most of recorded human history, the concept of marriage was very much tied to the idea of family.

For example, Susan Treggiari, a professor of Roman history writes "Matrimonium is an institution involving a mother, mater. The idea implicit in the word is that a man takes a woman in marriage, in matrimonium ducere, so that he may have children by her".

Homosexual relationships cannot by definition create a family - they are not a procreative relationship.

I'm not saying they're wrong because of this - this is simply a biological fact.

This is what a lot of gay marriage activists seem to miss - it's not opposition to the idea of them together. If they want to be together, they will be together.

It's simply that they wish to come along and redefine an existing word, to fit a new definition of what a family is.

Perhaps as a society, we will agree - and we will allow "marriage" between any two humans, and gender will become irrelevant.

However, to simply come along and assume, oh, a man and woman get it, so a man and man should get it automatically is either being intentionally blind, or very presumptuous.

A man and woman family is different to one composed of a man and a man - not because one is more valuable or not valuable - but simply because of their roles.

It's like saying, oh, a woman gets pregnant, so she must be more valuable than the man in a marriage. Well no, they are different - they play different parts, and we call them different things.

So it comes down to "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." You just recite a long litany of naturalistic fallacies and claims that marriage is X because marriage is X.

Yeah, there's a reason people think people who support straight marriage while opposing gay marriage are homophobic bigots.

Dude, it's biology....sigh.

(And probably anthropology thrown in there as well).

I don't get it, for people who claim to be super-rational, and only believing in "evidence", some of you atheists are a strangely illogical bunch.

And then when you say "Err...but wait, did you actually think this through - what about X?", they start throwing around labels like BIGOT, BIGOT!!!! NYAH NYAH!!!

Ok, I'll try and put in in HN tl'dr terms =).

Man + Woman = Procreation

That is a fact of life (literally, the fact of life) - human's engage in sexual reproduction.

For most of recorded human civilisation, we've had marriages - to try and foster the family unit, and engage in aforesaid procreation.

Now, in modern times, we've had an upsurge in homosexual relationships - some people decide to have sexual partnerships with same-gendered people.

Now, this can't by definition by procreative - which for most of recorded history was the point of marriage and families.

So some parts of society want them to come up with a new term to describe this relationship, which is sexual in nature, but not about families or procreation.

However, the other group say that because their relationships are sexual in nature, and they still like the concept of kids, they should still use the same label.

Here's one instance: he donated money to prevent people from getting married due to their sexual identity.

For some reason denying gays their equal rights is somehow ok as long as the person is not foaming at the mouth, and if they're refusing to be open-minded about their religious beliefs. I don't get it.

Maybe marriage certainly is between a man and a women within THEIR RELIGIOUS point of view. And that's fine. Their church can be as exclusionary as they want to be. But the US government shouldn't be exclusionary. Marriage in the US affords civil rights and distinctions (inheritance, consent, taxes) that should simply be equal for all citizens. Your religion and their obsolete views of things makes no difference. Who cares if your church or temple won't do a gay ceremony.

Opposing gay marriage isn't always linked to bigotry.

I oppose ALL state-sanctioned unions because I don't believe it's the state's business to say who can and cannot be in an official relationship (hetero, homo, or all the poly/group unions). As long as the people consent, why does the state need to approve?

Considering marriage is a non-binding contract (no fault divorce), the contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on (even prenups are overruled with alarming frequency).

From the state's perspective, what does approving marriage offer? It offers monitoring and control (and a religious position), but almost nothing else. Child guardianship is already a non-marital issue. Last will and testaments along with living wills (if enforced properly) deal with most legal issues pertaining to marriage. Minor modifications to tax law deals with the rest.

If someone wants to be married, they should go to their local church, mosque, synagogue, or whatever. If they want legal protection, have a will and they should sign the proper docs (even married persons should do this). If they want a binding contract, they should contact a lawyer and get one (just as they would with a prenup if they want something semi-binding).

Eich didn't give $1000 to an anti-state-marriage proposition, he gave to an anti-same-sex-marriage proposition.

>from ignorance and his religion instead of bigotry or hate

I am not one of the fedora-tippers, and I have no problem with individual faith, but it's been my experience that organized religion (of any sort) tends to discourage critical thinking and encourage ignorance. A byproduct of this is prejudice which leads to the dark side.

I don't believe you can quite so easily separate religion from discrimination.

Acts 8:26-40 Read it. I don't know how you conflate religion with racism. It is not the truth.

Explain that to the many religious people who used their religion to justify racism and misogony, as they now use their religion to justify homophobia. You can cherry pick and whitewash your religion however you choose, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a powerful weapon for racists and misogynists and bigots, and they use it against people they hate.

Of course maybe I'm misinterpreting you. If by "it is not the truth," you mean the religions that people use to justify their hate are not the truth, then I agree with you.

Yes we agree, it was the point of the reference I gave too. Anyone who invokes religion for _or_ against in the matter of deciding what marriage is defined as and what new term is needed, is wrong. True religion is about joining people together not separating them.

Did you read what I wrote? I don't think you read what I wrote.

>You should take the moral high ground and send him a personal communication detailing how his donation has caused harm.

I think there is far to much 'walking on eggshells' these days in regards to rights being infringed.

Please stop being an apologist for bigots. Racists and homophobes and misogynists and nazis are all cut from the same cloth, and they all support each other, so attacking the root cause of their hate is fighting them all. And asking people to stop being "unfair" to them is asking people to treat them all fairly, which they don't deserve, because they acted unfairly first.

The Paradox of Tolerance is a resolved philosophical debate, so the idea that it's ironic or wrong to be intolerant of intolerance is an unoriginal and misguided idea. Philosopher Karl Popper asserted, in The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol. 1, that we are warranted in refusing to tolerate intolerance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

I do know Brendan, since the time I interviewed with him at Netscape in the 90's, and I know people who work with him and know him much better than I do, who say he has a lot of insane hateful beliefs that he doesn't like to share with people (except by paying money to other people to fund making TV commercials demonizing gays, destroying existing gay married families, and preventing future ones until the Supreme Court stepped in, of course), and that he refuses to change or justify his unjust beliefs.

Mozilla has tried to recruit me on numerous occasions, and I've turned them down because of Brendan, sending them and Brendan my explanation of why, but I've never heard anything back from Brendan or Mozilla about it. And I'm not the only person who refuses to work with Mozilla because of Brendan, so he's already harmed the Mozilla project as well as the people he hates.

So I DID tell him how his donation has caused harm, both to me and my friends, and the Mozilla project, and he ignored it. Now what do you suggest?


There remains an huge elephant in the room, Brendan, which causes your message of inclusivity to fall flat.

"I'm sorry." "I was wrong." These are the words abusers never say; you want our forgiveness without actually promising to stop harming people, or explaining what was going through your head when you DID harm people before.

You're not sorry. You refuse to mention you were wrong, and apologize for the tangible harm you caused. You skirt around the well known fact that you donated money to destroy the existing and potential marriages of gay families. Everyone knows that. It's on the record.

Your verbal gymnastics to avoid addressing that fact overshadowed your message. Why didn't you mention that YOU PERSONALLY are the cause of people mistrusting Mozilla's commitment to equality, and explain WHAT you did and WHY you did it, as you have always refused to do.

If you learned anything, and changed your bigoted beliefs, then you should ADMIT to making a mistake, EXPLAIN why you made it, and APOLOGIZE for the harm you caused.

But no, you're still an abuser, because:

You refuse to admit you were wrong.

You refuse to explain what the fuck you were thinking when you donated money to support Proposition 8.

You refuse to explain why you intended and succeeded in destroying the existing and potential marriages of gay families.

You refuse to explain what you learned from being wrong, so other bigots like yourself can learn from your mistakes, and hopefully change their ways.

Brendan: You are a bigot, and an abuser. Not just because of your beliefs, which you have kept to yourself because they are so unjustifiable that you are ashamed to discuss them, but because of your ACTIONS, which tangibly contributed to the success of Proposition 8, thus destroying the existing gay marriages in California and preventing others. That was your intent, and that was the result of your actions, so you deserve credit for destroying those marriages, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

The Supreme Court finally ruled that Proposition 8 was wrong. Can you finally admit that YOU were wrong?

But I am sure you won't, because as a religious bigot, you think you're better than everyone else, and that you have a right to tell other people how to live their lives.

You've so much as proven that with your latest cowardly statement, a non-apology apology, which dances around the fact that you did what you did, that brought shame to the company that you direct, and blatantly avoids saying you're sorry and that you're wrong.

This is how your non-apology apology sounds:


I'm sorry that you feel I'm being an apologist for bigots, but I have no evidence to suggest that Eich is himself a homophobe. We all know about the donation, obviously, but that in and of itself is not evidence of his "anti-gay" stance.

If your anecdote is true and he actually is homophobic, I'll be even more hurt. But I still believe that there's really no reason for Brendan, being the most qualified, to step down when he seems comitted to equality going forward. Regardless, what OkCupid is doing is unfair (especially considering factual inaccuracies in their message) to both Mozilla Co. and Mozilla Fnd. in addition to all of the contributors.

Welcome to the club of being even more hurt.

A lot of people disagree with you, because they believe financially supporting Proposition 8 is prima facia evidence of homophobia, just as donating money to the KKK is evidence of racism.

But you're performing logical backflips, and parroting implausible straw man arguments usually proffered by dyed in the wool homophobes to justify their hatred, without actually having any knowledge of Brendan's beliefs, in an attempt to counter arguments and testimonial from people who DO know him and HAVE been negatively affected by his beliefs.

That's why it's my belief that you're being an apologist for bigots. Your "maybe he's against all marriages" argument has been shot down -- don't try it again.

>because they believe financially supporting Proposition 8 is prima facia evidence of homophobia

And they're wrong.

>without actually having any knowledge of Brendan's beliefs

I'm going on Mozilla employee's reactions, people who actually interact with him on a day to day basis. No one else seems to pin him as an "unrepentant homophobic bigot" (as per your other comment) except you.

>Your "maybe he's against all marriages" argument has been shot down -- don't try it again.

I'm in favor of redefining marriage and abolishing all civil unions because they're fundamentally unequal. And no, it hasn't, we simply don't know what his opinions are.

Your demeanor in comments really doesn't lend any credibility to your anecdote compared to the experiences shared by Mozilla Co. employees.

> Would you work for or buy products from a CEO who was an unapologetic racist just because his beliefs were a product of his family/community?

Do you mean someone like William Shockley, perhaps?


Also... for your question to be meaningful or relevant to the current discussion, I think you'd have to get more specific about what you mean by "unapologetic racist", and also weigh what other contributions they were bringing to the table as a CEO.

Note: nobody could tolerate Shockley and his story is not a success story. His sharp, unsympathetic and impractical opinions were mirrored directly in this management style. The style lacked pragmatic approaches to problem solving:

While Shockley had received a Nobel Prize in Physics and was an experienced researcher and teacher, his managing of the group created harsh working conditions.He chose a strategy for circuit design that failed and created an intolerable working atmosphere. The group of PhD graduates hired demanded that Shockley be replaced. When their demands were rebuffed, they realized they had to leave. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traitorous_eight

Wait. The guy is also the inventor of Javascript. Shouldn't everybody be boycotting that? I mean it has a lot more to do with him than Firefox does. After all, he's the CEO of Mozilla Corporation (not the Foundation), which is only indirectly connected to Firefox, but he _invented_ Javascript!

What am I missing here?

You seem sincere, so here's an honest answer.

What you're missing is the nature of the job of CEO, especially in Silicon Valley. It's not a job where you bury your head down and get the work done, a huge part of the job is being the public face of the company.

The Mozilla Corp. has decided that their public face should be someone who is opposed to equal rights for gays. That's completely different than having a racist working as a programmer or in the mail room or even as CTO.

Boycotting javascript would be silly. Nobody is trying to say that everything Eich has touched now has cooties and we should stay away from it. However, it's perfectly reasonable to ask what kind of company Mozilla wants to be when they decide they want Eich as their public representative.

I wonder how many people making this "public face of the company" argument could name the current CEO of Netflix.

Or, before the recent controversy, name any of the prior Mozilla CEOs. (It hasn't seemed to be an organization reliant on big-personality/high-profile CEOs.)

So I'm downvoted to hell, but what about my question?

It's easy to do a boycott that doesn't hurt you. Everybody can live without Firefox.

So why not get serious about this and show people that you are willing to make an actual sacrifice as a stand against his position?

Maybe that would be inconvenient?

>> What am I missing here?

> So I'm downvoted to hell, but what about my question?

The question does not deserve an answer, but you are obviously not going to realize and will remain enraged, which would be counter-productive.

Firstly you are missing that there is choice about browsers; but no choice whatsoever in a scripting language in browsers. They are asking their users to make a choice, one that will not hurt their users. By removing all use of JS they would actively hurt their users.

Secondly you are missing that even as CEO of Mozilla he does not remain in control of JS, even if he created it.

Hey, I would totally be in for a boycott of Javascript. Let's do this.

Pick a Time Machine, and go back to 1995, I wish you the best of luck.

A boycott is meant to inconvenience the target of the boycott. If your goal is to nudge the Mozilla Corp into action, Firefox downloads is really the way to do it, as that's pretty much their sole source of revenue.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Corporation

JavaScript is something he produced, think of it as a work of art. The language itself doesn't portray his personal beliefs on topics other than language design. Putting him in charge of people who lifestyle he is not accepting of is different. It will influence the choices he makes in dealing with people and in how the organization behaves.

If the language had something like logging levels which were labeled by derogatory terms for a subset of people that'd be another issue but it doesn't.

Imagine if Ted Bundy had created a cure for cancer. Would you want to boycott it? Would you put him in charge of people? Now admittedly Bundy might be a bigger danger to a specific subset of people than Eich but Eich is still a danger in some way to a subset of people.

Boycotting FireFox isn't about the product, it is about sending a message to the organization that puts him in a position of power over people.

So you're saying you'd boycott Nazi Germany, but you wouldn't boycott an art gallery that displayed Hitler's paintings?

The point of a boycott is to pressure some company or person to change. Boycotting Javascript is too abstract to be valuable. Javascript can't fire him, to cite the obvious example.

The fact that it's realistically possible to boycott (i.e. not use) Firefox, but boycotting Javascript is - essentially - impossible. Sure, you can disable it in your browser, but that's nowhere near an outright boycott.

(BTW, this is just one difference, one that I haven't seen anyone else pointing out, whilst other, just as good - if not better - differences have been identified in this very post)

Ok I see that it is quite unrealistic to go community-wide with a Javascript boycott (and I was talking about developers, not users). It's just that singling out Firefox to me seems so arbitrary.

Now the target is Firefox, the last big independent browser, even though it was _Mozilla Corporation_ (not the foundation) that made the wrong choice. Mozilla Corporation is IMO the place were pressure should be applied.

I realize now that this is probably what annoyed me most about how this affair developed. I am quite attached to Firefox and was rather surprised that it became a target in a scandal that revolves around a stupid move by Mozilla Corporation.

Have you ever tried to program in JavaScript? It doesn't have classes but the syntax looks similar: this is actually a pointer to that.

null == false // false

!null // true

He should be exiled for inventing JS.


Thinking that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman is not the same as thinking there's anything wrong with being gay. You can't claim someone is oppressing someone's rights by participating in the public debate about what exactly those rights should be.

I disagree with Eich, but I reserve my moral disapproval for those who seek to shame anyone holding an opinion different from that currently politically correct.

People, also, used to define marriage as being between two people of the same race. Let us dispense of this tangent once and for all: Marriage is a civil right. It is the cornerstone of this civil rights movement, as it was to the last one, and the one before that, and all the ones that haven't happened yet. The cry "marriage for all" is not politically correct; we would like it to become politically correct -- what a milestone that would be. We aren't shaming Eich because he's politically incorrect. We are shaming him because he chose to join a long line of people who have circumscribed marriage in the name of tradition or fear or ignorance. People who use their money and resources taking something that requires nothing of them to give. People who have been proven wrong, time and time again. People who we, regretfully, did not shame at the time.

Sorry, but the whole race versus gay marriage thing has been done to death, and proven patently false.

Nobody is stopping gay people from being together. Nor, in many countries/states, are they stopped from claiming the same benefits (e.g. via civil unions).

This is simply about them redefining marriage to encompass any two humans, rather than just a man and a woman.

I'm not going to go into whether that's "right" or not - that's way off topic here, and is only going to descent to a flame war - this isn't the forum for that.

However, this is about redefining a word - marriage has traditionally been between a man and a woman, and to claim otherwise is blatant historical revisionism.

Tradition is not necessarily "right" though, so they're certainly within rights to claim they feel the word should be redefined.

Just like Eichs is within right to say no, marriage should be defined the same.

And Eichs was classy enough to keep it out of his work - by all reports, he's never discriminated against gay people, or had anything against them - he's simply got his own views of what "marriage" should mean.

Nobody?! Uganda? Russia? India?


"Evangelicals took to Twitter and Facebook to threaten to stop sending money to their sponsored children unless World Vision reversed course."

All this over a word?! An etymology war... #not.

Err, couple of corrections.

On a geographical front - the US is a different country to Uganda/Russia/India.

I was speaking on the topic at hand - which is about Brandon Eichs, a US citizen, supporting a US piece of legislation, and about Mozilla, a US organisation who he works for.

Perhaps it's slightly US-centric - but then this is a US-based site. If you want articles about other countries, you're free to submit them.

And secondly, on the religious front - Africa as a whole is not particularly homosexual friendly. I suspect part of this is cultural - they're just very conservative in how they view relationships/marriage.

This isn't about religion, but simply about their society as a whole.

For example, arranged marriages are still common, and they frown very strongly on things like adultery.

So to somehow try to link it to a Californian legislation about legalistic definitions of marriages versus civil unions is a big disingenuous.

Russia and India likewise are two countries that are quite conservative in their values.

It's the same in China -they're most definitely not a Christian society by any stretch (Christianity is basically a punishable offence), but they also don't like LBGT relationships.

The funny thing is - you don't see the same level of noise about this issue in Muslim countries.

I've always wondered why that is.

YEAH! Mozilla and Uganda ... I get the two confused all the time!!!

However, as is often overlooked, this isn't purely a debate about one's personal ethics and morals; marriage extends into the legal domain, and brings with it a plethora of complex legal ramifications. So, in fact, preventing marriage does impact an individual's rights.

I would also point out that “politically correct” is about as dismissive a term as can be found today.

Cultural attitudes may shift, and at some point a marginalized concept dismissed as “politically correct” becomes simply “correct.”

Well, no, it doesn't.

In many countries/states, civil unions are the norm for gay people, and have been for some time.

However, the current debate from gay people seems to be that they want to re-use the "marriage" label, which has traditionally been for between a man and a woman.

I'm not saying it's right simply because it's tradition - but trying to argue that it has been anything but between a man and a woman for thousands of years is just historical revisionism.

So yes, you can try to argue that, we should redefine marriage to include between any two people who want it.

However, to claim that they're somehow being "oppressed" because we don't simply let them win their argument is just silly.

If this was really about them wanting benefits, then the civil union would achieve that.

Unsolicited feedback: The way you disagree is pretty disrespectful-- I've seen this in a few of your comments. Don't refer to people's arguments as "silly".

Civil unions or legal gay marriages are still not possible in about 2/3 of the United States.

It's not "historical revisionism" for the definition of a word (in the eyes of the law) to change or evolve. For example, marriage used to be legal with women under 16-- now it's largely not. I'd say that most proponents care more about the rights than the label.

It's irrelevant what's possible in 2/3 of the US. The California status quo until the court case, which Eich was implicitly trying to restore by supporting prop 8, was civil unions with identical treatment to marriage under state law except the name.

That's not Uganda style death penalty as some are equating it to.

Aside from the ethical issues, civil partnerships only had identical treatment to marriage under Californian state law. They weren't treated as marriages under federal law, or by many other countries and US states that recognised gay marriage. Likewise, Prop 8 meant that the marriages of gay couples from outside the state couldn't be recognised in California.

Civil Unions don't grant the same benefits as Marriage does. So it's not the same thing.

There's no etymology war, you can keep the word "marriage", just give everyone equal rights to marry and have their marriage recognized everywhere.

Prop 8 was entirely a terminology war. Prop 8 is not magically the entire concept of gay rights. It only addressed the issue of whether California would have same sex marriage or civil unions with identical treatment.

Federal law doesn't recognize civil unions. Separate but equal is never equal.

Then the issue is: Federal law needs to recognise civil unions.

Or we could just say that Federal law shouldn't engage in sexual discrimination re. legal marriage.

> but trying to argue that it has been anything but between a man and a woman for thousands of years is just historical revisionism.

It's a good point, unfortunately the problem with that is how far back we should we go?

For example: Same sex marriage ( not just civil union ) did occur for example in the Roman Empire, until the Christian Emperors Constantius II and Constans passed a law prohibiting same sex marriage and making it punishable by death.

No, it actually didn't actually exist in Rome - for example, see the Wikipedia article on it:


The examples were apparently satirical, and had no legal standing under Roman law.

The exceptions were a few Roman emperors who had...interesting....whims.

But hey, it's the emperor, who are you to tell him what's legal or illegal.

Fast forward a few thousand years, and the one other exception is history is one Spanish priest in 1061.

Here's an idea. What if Eich had donated to a cause which stated the idea that marriage could only be between two white people. Sounds nonsensical but what if instead of it being based around sexual orientation, it was based around race?

The idea of racial equality has been around a lot longer and is more generally accepted than gay marriage rights (which only recently have begun to gain wider acceptance) so I imagine more people would be on the “he should resign” side in such a case.

When I first heard about this issue I didn’t think it was a big deal as long as his personal views did not influence his professional behaviour and ethics. But as some people have pointed out, he is the public face of an organisation that touts openness and inclusiveness as values. Furthermore, if I was gay I’m sure I’d feel more strongly about this, in the same way that someone who is non-white (or in the marginalised race) would feel strongly if the issue was around race as I've described above.

Finally, to people calling for him to apologise….him coming out with an apology to pacify everyone wouldn’t mean that he has changed his mind. It could just mean him saying what he needs to say to be able to get on with things while still harbouring the same thoughts and ideas within. Ask any politician.

The comparison to race still fails to make me think publicly denouncing a company in its whole because of the personal beliefs of one member is in any way justified.

People will never be homogeneous in their beliefs, and I think that's a good thing. But when you're unable to interact with another person in any way at all because of their private beliefs, you're being an idiot.

A person's beliefs do not define their contribution to society. Life has a lot of shades of grey, everyone has opinions that run counter to the current societal ideal. It's not ok to shun or denounce that person, all you're doing is spreading hate. It IS ok to speak out about what you believe. Do some good. Instead of getting angry about someone you've read about on the internet, go volunteer somewhere. Spread some love instead.

I agree with the points you've made. I was simply stating that I can see why some people are calling for him to step down. The person who leads the company - the CEO in most cases - is by default often considered to be a public face for said company and to also be a representation of the kind of company it is. I'm not saying that that's how it should be or not, just that's how it seems to be.

> 50 years ago, being a racist was acceptable to lots of people. Would you work for or buy products from a CEO who was an unapologetic racist just because his beliefs were a product of his family/community?

It depends.

If it were, say, 100 years ago, when racism was the norm, I probably wouldn't take the racial views of the CEO into account when deciding what to buy or where to work. When a small group shuns a business, it generally hurts the small group more than it hurts the business. Heck, it may even help the business if people who agree with the CEO start doing more business with the company in a show of support for his racist views.

If it were today, where racism is much much much less acceptable than it was 100 years ago, I'd consider it. The people shunning the business for racism would very likely outnumber those who might increase spending to support it.

When 95% of the population believes something, it is pretty silly to shun a business whose CEO believes that. When 5% believes something, then shunning might make more sense. The interesting question is where is the crossover point?

Do you think that these actions are actually furthering the cause of gay rights? It seems to me it's just an emotional reaction to want to "punish" the "hated enemy" [1]. And people on the other side will have the opposite reaction and further their bias against marriage equality supporters.

[1] http://lesswrong.com/lw/gw/politics_is_the_mindkiller/

You seem to imply that societal morals always "improve" (according to some definition) over time. But what if, 50 years from now, being racist is widely acceptable again? Does that suddenly make it "moral"?

> what should we do right now?

This is a long answer, so here's the TLDR: All sides of the debate need to tone down the name-calling, demonization, boycotts, and ostracism of opponents. Treat the other side of the debate like they're intelligent and well-meaning, but somehow picked up some misinformed, misguided, or mistaken assumptions and doesn't realize. Try to figure out how to change people's minds so they believe the right thing, instead of focusing on punishing people who believe the wrong thing.

I'm the rare HN'er on the opposite side of this cultural divide, so I thought my perspective would be informative. A lot of people who read the previous sentence have probably already characterized me as either a poorly educated hick or a slavering, sadistic bigot.

The truth is, that by dehumanizing your opponent and assuming bad faith, you guarantee that people who don't agree with you won't listen to what you have to say. This means you can't really change minds.

If you want to further the cause of gay rights, figure out the reasons people disagree with you, and try to convince them otherwise. Try to teach and explain; stay away from confrontation, condemnation and personal attacks. If someone else (on either side) becomes indignant, keep calm and encourage them to do likewise.

For example, in a little bit I'll give you a list of questions I've had about gay rights that no one's ever answered to my satisfaction. Based on past experience, I should give you a few warnings about my questions first.

You will probably think these questions are highly inflammatory, but I don't intend them to be trolling or snarking; rather they're things I'm honestly confused about. You should try to remain calm and think logically while reading my questions. This is apparently very hard for most pro-gay-rights people, for reasons I don't really understand.

Opponents of gay rights say these questions have no good answers. Instead of providing good answers, proponents of gay rights call anyone who asks these questions very bad names like "hateful," "offensive," "bigot," or "dinosaur," and don't actually answer the questions.

I don't know the answers to these questions because neither side ever actually answers them. The only thing I have to go on is the behavior of the two groups. Based on the above typical interaction of the two sides of the debate, I have to say the opponents of gay rights win: The pro-gay-rights side's only answer to skeptical questions is calling names. I'd probably change my mind if the pro-gay-rights side offered good answers and the anti-gay-rights side were the ones who weren't able to offer a coherent response.

Here are the questions:

What are the reasons you believe what you do? What is the evidence that homosexuality is an in-born quality as opposed to a choice? How strong is it? What about concerns that gay people are promiscuous, spreading AIDS and other STD's? Is a gay household an unhealthy environment for children? To what extent is homosexuality associated with crimes like rape and pedophilia? Why is homosexuality traditionally considered morally wrong (e.g. Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible), a symbol of decline (e.g. the late Roman Empire), and even outlawed? If the millenia-old traditional viewpoint was wrong, why did it last so long? Were the anti-gay-rights people always wrong, or has technology changed the picture (e.g. maybe STD's are now less serious due to inventions like condoms and antibiotics)?

And one last question, which doesn't really change how I lean on the question of how I feel about gay rights: Why do so many pro-gay-rights people try to advance their agenda by calling names and boycotting organizations, instead of simply patiently explaining their side of the story?

I like your call to civility. Your questions seem like they could lead to an interesting conversation in the midst of all this, so I'll bite.

What are the reasons you believe what you do? Interesting question. "What I believe" is a rather broad category, and it would take a long time to answer all of that. Let's see what the other answers provoke and come back to this one. --Well, I think I've usually included that in my answers.

What is the evidence that homosexuality is an in-born quality as opposed to a choice? How strong is it? There is my personal experience that I started being attracted to humans of one sex without consciously deciding to. I gather that this is a common experience for people of all sexual orientations, and I haven't heard of exceptions. There is also the logical consideration that if anyone was facing serious negative consequences for being gay and negligible benefits, and he could easily turn straight, then he would probably do it; I don't have the literature in my hands, but my impression is that if you look, say, a few decades in the past, you can find a fair number of gay people who (a) faced physical abuse and ostracism, (b) were very distressed by all this, (c) were not getting emotional support from the gay community because it didn't really exist yet, (d) could not plausibly be argued to have martyr complexes, and yet didn't "just stop being gay". Seems like strong evidence, though the underlying mechanism remains obscure.

That said, though, whether it's a choice is really moot in my opinion, and in fact something of a distraction. Orson Scott Card, a believing Mormon, wrote an entire essay where he starts from the premise that homosexual behavior is immoral, because his religion says so, and criticizes those who protest that the desire for it is innate: just because people have innate urges to do many other kinds of immoral behavior (including violence) doesn't make them moral. A fine argument if you agree with the premise, which his critics obviously do not. Since the entire point of contention is a matter of faith for him, it seems there is little to discuss with him, and the resulting debate is just awkward and embarrassing for all involved.

People have exclusive rights to their own bodies; they can form whatever voluntary sexual, emotional, financial, or other kinds of relationships, as far as I'm concerned; I would oppose anyone who would try to intervene by force, and would be wary of those who try to use shaming and other forms of social power to discourage it. Why people want what they want doesn't enter into this.

What about concerns that gay people are promiscuous, spreading AIDS and other STD's? I don't think promiscuity is a problem if you're careful not to spread disease; let us use the term "recklessly promiscuous". Let's see. I think the statistics on that are indeed discouraging. What could contribute to this? I've heard anal sex is like the most reliable way to transmit HIV; that could be a factor. Next, I've heard of gay bathhouses where men basically recklessly have sex with each other; what I've heard could be exaggerated, but I think they've probably existed to some extent; that would certainly explain a lot of early spread of AIDS among gay men.

Why would gay men in particular do such a thing? Well, perhaps part of it has to do with the average behavior of males; there are reasons to think they would evolve a strategy of promiscuous mating to maximize offspring, and I think young men have a reputation for being reckless. Then there is another effect: When something is made illegal but some people do it anyway, it gets pushed underground; necessarily it all happens outside the eyes of the law, and for all who participate the barrier to entry for other kinds of illegality is reduced. When drugs and prostitution are illegal, you get toxic impurities, dangerous back-alley negotiation, gang violence, pimps, and disease; when they are legal, you get careful manufacturing, department stores, and weekly STD tests. To the extent that gay prostitution and bathhouses are illegal (and I imagine social stigma can have some of the same effects as legal punishments), it is unsurprising that they lack high health standards.

Anyway, what about those concerns? The situation is unfortunate. The solution is libertarianism--legalizing prostitution--and to make people in general more prosperous, so they can satisfy their urges less recklessly.

Is a gay household an unhealthy environment for children? Inherently? I doubt it. The kids won't have parental role models for heterosexual adults of either sex. I'm not sure if that's a problem, though; homosexual role models might do fine, the one deficiency they seem likely to have (not having children) is by assumption out of the picture. Kids might find role models in the adults they meet or those they read about; it seems certainly not a worse problem than that faced by, say, single parents, or families with other problems. And note that it's entirely possible for a peaceful single-parent family to be better than a dysfunctional "traditional" family: there are a hundred ways families can be great or screwed up, and if "gay parents" is a factor, I would guess it's a small one, almost certainly smaller than "divorce".

To what extent is homosexuality associated with crimes like rape and pedophilia? I haven't heard anything about this. If there's a small link, my first guess is to attribute it to social deviancy: if you're already stigmatized and pushed into association with other stigmatized people, the barrier to entry for other kinds of deviant behavior, some of which may be criminal, is reduced. Then it's plausible that pedophiles attracted to kids of the same sex are more likely to be gay. If there is a significant link that has nothing to do with the above, I'd be somewhat interested to see it.

("Somewhat interested": if so, so what? Let's suppose childhood abuse of various sorts, the same kind that often causes people to become violent criminals, also often causes people to become gay, and therefore we observe a significant association. What then? Is the solution to outlaw gay behavior? [You bring this up in a "pro" vs "anti" gay rights debate, so I can only assume.] That seems mind-bogglingly stupid and counterproductive. Solution would obviously then be to try to reduce childhood abuse.)

Why is homosexuality traditionally considered morally wrong (e.g. Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible), a symbol of decline (e.g. the late Roman Empire), and even outlawed? If the millenia-old traditional viewpoint was wrong, why did it last so long? I'm not so sure this "tradition" is universal. Observe the Greeks, particularly those of Socrates's time. From what I've heard, pederasty was considered great, and openly indulged in by many men who were considered great. I think they're not the only culture that was like this, although they probably are outnumbered by gay-hostile cultures.

The examples you cite appear to all come from Judaism and Christianity. Being a band of people who had to work hard to make their way, the Jews could easily see homosexual behavior (which cannot lead to children) as unproductive; the story of Onan is an injunction against refusing to father children when God willed it; an injunction against a non-reproductive lifestyle (ignoring adoption and reproduction-outside-marriage) seems not much of a stretch. So there's a possible religion-based reason. Next, I could make up reasons to do with masculinity: let's say a strong man is dominant, can only express sexuality through dominance, and it's impossible for both men in a relationship to be dominant over each other. Therefore in gay relationships, at least one man is weak, and is a safe target for bullying. (As a matter of fact, I've heard that in some cases of male-on-male rape, the "top" isn't considered gay, but the "bottom" is a gay sissy, despite the irony. The point, of course, is that the weak one is to be bullied.) The crowd gets habituated to bullying gays, and this can become enshrined in law.

As for being a symbol of decline: Well, if any behavior X is frowned upon and outlawed, and then society becomes chaotic and the law becomes weak to the point where people engage in X with impunity, then X can become a symbol of the decline, even if X is harmless or mildly beneficial. It might suggest these people have a good reason for frowning upon X, but I have examined that elsewhere.

Were the anti-gay-rights people always wrong, or has technology changed the picture (e.g. maybe STD's are now less serious due to inventions like condoms and antibiotics)? Or STD tests and general knowledge. Um... is it permissible to outlaw a behavior because many people are doing it recklessly and infecting others? How about outlawing infecting others? I guess it's usually too much to expect that kind of precision from the law. But AIDS is a very recent development; I haven't heard of homosexuality being associated with disease before the modern era. If it is, I'd refer to my previous comments on illegality, prostitution, and health standards.

Why do so many pro-gay-rights people try to advance their agenda by calling names and boycotting organizations, instead of simply patiently explaining their side of the story? I'd guess that they enjoy siccing the power of an angry mob on people, especially if they think they're justified in doing so. This may also be how they gain status in their social group.

This is not about gay rights. This is about the married couple privileges being extended to gay couples.

Comparing this to the right of all humans to be treated like humans regardless of their skin color is downright outrageous.

Before you accuse me of something, I'm against any interference in the institution of marriage by states or churches. I'm also against tax/property/inheritance/pension/insurance privileges for married couples.

It is about gay rights. It's about human rights in general.

By giving some people less rights because of their skin color, you are treating them as sub-human. Somehow not deserving of the same human rights us Straight/White/Males are entitled to.

By giving some people less rights because of their gender, you are treating them as sub-human. Somehow not deserving of the same human rights us Straight/White/Males are entitled to.

By giving some people less rights because of their sexuality, you are treating them as sub-human. Somehow not deserving of the same human rights us Straight/White/Males are entitled to.

It's really all the same very basic case of denying some people the rights and freedoms that the majority of us take for granted.

There is no such thing as Straight/White/Male privilege. There is just Gay/Black/Female disadvantage. The rights I have, I take for granted - They are the norm. When certain segments of society are denied the exact same rights as I have, they are disadvantaged.

There's a pretty big difference between being forced into labor for the rest of your life and being separated from your family so that you can work for a large plantation owner who isn't afraid to whip, kill, torture or humiliate you and not being able to get a certificate saying you are legally obligated to someone.

What I'm excited for is the day when being anti-soda is no longer socially acceptable. There's already a movement against it and slavery was once socially acceptable so it has to happen, right?

The previous poster was talking about racism, not slavery. Slavery was not a thing in this country 50 years ago. You're making a much bigger leap than you think the previous poster did.

There is a lot more to the rights gained from marriage than just "legal obligation".

There's a big difference between discriminating against a person based on their beliefs and trying to prevent discrimination based on beliefs. This comment is shocking in that you not only miss that difference, but imply that someone attempting to prevent discrimination is more likely to be a party to discrimination!

Holding a religious belief is one thing, and I'd be upset if OKC was discriminating against any group for holding a personal religious view. You cross a line when you try to outlaw something (that does not infringe on another's rights) based on personal or religious belief.

I don't care at all if Brendan Eich is or is not gay. I'd be saddened if he thought it was immoral, but grant him the right. What upsets me is that he's willing to donate money to organizations that, in my view, encourage discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, so long as those beliefs don't lead to actions that infringe on the rights of others. I believe Brendan Eich has crossed that line, and that OKC is to be praised for exercising their right to free speech in defense of equality.

The problem is not that Eich's beliefs are a deviation from a norm (whether they are or not is irrelevant). His beliefs are hateful.

The reason for this particular message is because it is part of a greater campaign to show Mozilla that users and producers on the internet are not in support of Eich's appointment.

Why do you say his beliefs are hateful? And, is a person's beliefs/opinion constant and permanent or do they change over time?

Here's what Elton John had to say in 2008 (his views have since changed); from HuffPo [1]:

"We have a civil partnership," he said, talking about he and longtime partner, David Furnish. "What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage," he said to USA Today at a gala for his Elton John AIDS Foundation in 2008. "I don't want to be married. I'm very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. The word 'marriage,' I think, puts a lot of people off."

Would you describe that as hateful?

1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/21/elton-john-gay-marr...

This may benefit from some context:

- Civil Partnership was permitted in the UK from 2004.

At that time, it was felt by many gay community leaders that this was a great breakthrough and a legal equivalence to marriage represented equality for gay people in the eyes of the law. Until 2010, gay rights campaigners Stonewall UK declined to campaign for gay marriage.

Civil partnership was seen as a good way to introduce legal equality without wrangling with the church over the use of the word 'marriage'.

This seems to be what Elton John is saying: civil partnership is a great step, and legally what's needed without also dealing with the issue of the word "marriage" at the same time.

However, over time, the gay community made it clear that they felt that this equality-with-a-different-name is not real equality.

- Gay marriage has now been legal in the UK for the last three days.

Elton John was one of the first public names to announce his intention to marry, and the article linked is about his advocacy.

It's not really possible from this quote to say that Elton John was particularly against marriage, even if he didn't personally want to get married at that time. I respectfully suggest that it was the Huffington Post trying to create a story.

On the point about a person's beliefs changing over time, Brendan Eich is free to make a statement to clarify his reason for making a public donation and update us on his current beliefs, if he chooses. His previous statement on this issue expressed no sense of regret.

Elton John was criticizing a marketing decision made by advocates of gay rights. He wasn't actively donating money to suppress those rights.

Elton John is mega-rich and is not a US Citizen, as well as surely having very well paid lawyers, so does not have the concerns that others have. Furthermore, many churches are accepting of LGBTQ folks and will perform marriages, including one in SF where a friend of mine used to be a pastor.

Rights are not about not upsetting people. If noone did anything that upset people, it would also be illegal to marry interracially. A lot of people alive today have a problem with that, and the government said: too fucking bad, kiddo.

Also what about Brian Sewell, a well-known British art critic, writer and broadcaster? Can a gay person be a homophobe?

"Why then do they and lesbians demand the right to marry? Indeed, how many of us have made that demand? One in 20? One in 10? Most of us... have not pleaded for gay marriage. But every minority has within it a core of single-issue politicians and protesters who are never satisfied and always ask for more, and homosexuals, both male and female, are no exception.


As the procreation of children is hardly the remit of the homosexual and I have never encountered one (other than a priest) who sought a remedy against fornication, and the civil partnership caters for the mutual society and comfort, why one earth have we had all this ballyhoo about gay marriage?

Since the institution of civil partnerships there has been no impediment to their celebration with a party as extravagant as any wedding, but not all homosexuals are so exhibitionist. Most of us are content with what we now have within the law, and are happy to respect the deeply-held belief of sincere, thoughtful and informed Christians for whom marriage is the one sacrament in which we cannot share.

We have wasted our resources on the wrong campaign – the battle still to be won is against prejudice, the most insidious of enemies."


> Can a gay person be a homophobe?

I'm not sure if you're asking this question in seriousness, but... yes, gay people can be homophobic. A significant proportion of the population is gay, and every one is unique.

http://gayhomophobe.com/ focuses on anti-gay campaigners who have been caught in gay sex scandals. George Rekers is possibly the most familiar - dedicating his life to anti-gay campaigning while travelling with a personal rent boy.

The simplest polite thing to say about Brian Sewell (who you quote) is that he doesn't represent the wider gay community.

My anecdotal experience has been that the older generations of gay men haven't cared a lot about gay marriage as an issue. Civil unions give them what they needed legally, and "marriage" as a concept separate from that didn't mean much to them.

I'm completely theorizing as to why, but it's a topic I've discussed with many of them and thought about some on my own.

The following impressions apply to older gay men I've met who don't care much about gay marriage as an issue. I'm explicitly stating I don't believe they necessarily apply to a wider gay community.

I think part of it is that older gay men tend to have been in some longer, more committed relationships, and feel that the reality of day to day loving is what matters to them. Give them legal rights with civil unions and they're good to go. They don't need "marriage" to feel more committed.

I think too older men are more comfortable with themselves and who they are. They have been gay and out (at least to some close friends, if no one else) for long periods of time and don't feel as much shame or need to be "accepted" by everyone. So the symbolic meaning of gay marriage (as opposed to civil unions) carries less weight for them.

And related, they've seen the truly big battles that were fought for the right to be out at all. This one feels smaller to them, less essential in comparison. They're happy with what they have. It's all they feel they need.

In Britain today, there is a millionaire gay couple who are suing the Church of England because they want to have a wedding in a church. Is this about symbolism, acceptance or poking a finger in the eye of Christians?

One of many problems with the absence of the separation of Church and State is that discrimination by the Church is discrimination by the State, which makes things unacceptable uses of state power that would be legitimate in an Church that wasn't an integrated part of the State.

Church weddings are always about symbolism.

Church weddings are a different thing than gay marriage, though. My personal opinion is that anyone who wants one should have one. But at the same time, churches have to have the right to discriminate on memberships and services. I don't think they should refuse gay marriages, but if they choose to do so, that is in fact their right.

Church Of England is its own special beast, and probably shouldn't be allowed to refuse gay weddings. Messy topic, but that's what you get for mixing church and state.

Gay people certainly can suffer from homophobia. Some have it so bad they can't even admit to themselves that they're gay.

In this case, I think the quote is incoherent. Of course the battle is against prejudice. But one of the most obvious expressions of that prejudice is the attempt to restrict access to the institution of marriage. Sewell is evidently willing to accept that there's some valid reason for that restriction. I think that's sad, and I think you've put your finger on the reason he feels that way.

It's important to note that Sewell comes from a generation of gay people who not only had to hide who they loved from the public, but then saw many of their friends die from a terrible disease that the government did little to prevent. The idea that gay people should have a right to be married is, to many people of Sewell's age both gay and straight, a very modern notion.

It's quite possible that one might have found an octogenarian Alabaman black man in 60s saying the same sorts of things about the mixing of races.

I say his beliefs are hateful because I believe it is hateful to say that different regulations should be applied to people based on how they were born, or how they choose to behave when that behavior is a personal decision not affecting others.

There are exceptions here and there, such as helmet and seatbelt laws, but I'm really talking about lifestyle choices.

Aren't helmet and seatbelt laws the perfect example of behavior that is a personal decision not affecting others?

Seriously, what isn't a lifestyle choice? I don't get it...

If I prefer unpasturized milk, isn't that a lifestyle choice? If I want to smoke pot, isn't that a lifestyle choice? If I don't want to wear a seatbelt, isn't that a lifestyle choice?

Couldn't the statists just fuck off and let people make simple decisions like who they want to bump genetalia with, or what kind of milk to drink, or even gasp whether to wear a helmet or not?

The highly ironic thing is that in my jurisdiction we force people into marriage whether they like it or not automatically. That said we're forcing gay people to get married too so at least it's across the board imposition of non-consensual relationships.

Are you in British Columbia?


> The qualifications for a common-law relationship, Dahl says, are much lower than they once were. To have a “marriage-like” relationship in BC, you do not have to share a bank account, call yourselves married, be sexually monogamous, file taxes together, or even cohabit all the time. To “hold yourself up to the community as a couple” and share a home is probably enough.

By that standard, it seems like it would be pretty easy for an ex-roommate to sue you for half of your wealth.

Given that his beliefs in 2008 were echoed by a majority of Californian voters, it's hard to argue that they're a deviation from the norm.

Is Firefox a local project? It is a project used by the industrialized world, and by some of the non industrialized world. More than 47% of voters in California voted against this bill. Deep pocketed people like Eich were able to get that thin majority, by getting every hayseed in the central valley, north coast and Orange county out to the polls.

A thin majority of one state in fifty of one country isn't much of a norm to deviate from.

When you're arguing for inclusion, you should avoid pejorative terms like 'hayseed'.

At thin majority and this is a weak argument anyway.

A norm just has to be common, not a majority. Voting for a major political party is a norm, regardless of whether your party wins or loses, for example.

I don't support his views, but to call them as 'not a norm' mischaracterises them and doesn't particularly help in finding tactics against them.

Yeah, unfortunately.

America - everyone can have their own opinion unless it disagrees with the majority.

Exactly what I say, but then when I donate to Al Qaeda everyone acts like I'm the villain, not the people who jail me for just believing in something.

I don't actually donate to Al Qaeda, and they're not equivalent to Eich, but the opinion expressed in your comment is applicable to both.

I was not aware that OKCupid was so theophobic.

OKCupid, for people without those overbearing, quietly judgmental matchmaking aunts, friends of parents, co-workers, etc.

Do you have any theological credentials to back up these accusations?

This is not about what's right. It's about attention, meaning user growth and ad revenue. OkCupid's leadership does not actually care about Eich's appointment.

Like most dichotomies, this one is false. It is more probably true that OkCupid cares about both attention and the underlying social issue.

Edit: this link works for everyone (it is provided in another submission): http://www.okcupid.com/home?mozilla_message=1

Edit 2: the Internet Exploder typo is theirs.

Here is the text (for those who don't use Firefox):

Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.

However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid:

[3 buttons:] Google Chrome Internet Exploder Opera

Thank you, OkCupid

"Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal"

I don't know much about Eich, but I don't think he was working to make same-sex relationships illegal (like Uganda or nigeria). it does okcupid no credit to infer that he does (using weasel words like "people like Mr eich".)

saying "eich wanted to prevent 8% of our customers from enjoying the fulfillment that marriage can bring to a relationship" would be much more honest.

Marriage is a possibility for a relationship if you're straight. To deny that for gay people is to deny them the full legal potential of their relationship.

edit: added legal before potential

Please rephrase that. Whilst I entirely agree with your sentiment about equality, your implication that those of us in a loving relationship who choose not to marry aren't realising the 'full potential of our relationship' is pretty hurtful. It's precisely this kind of attitude that makes me so reluctant to get married myself.

edit: thanks for your edit. And I'm still bitter about that, but that's a whole other argument ;)

What you get down is really a question about what marriage is about. Is marriage about giving government benefits (property transfer benefits, tax treatment changes, certain treatment under health insurance regulations, adoption miscellaneous other things) to two people who like each other a lot? Or is it about giving government benefits to people who might found a family with children and things (notwithstanding the fact that not every heterosexual couple actually does or plans to do this?)

That's the real question here. This issue isn't about hate and dehumanization -- I mean, there's way too much hate and dehumanization, certainly, but not enough to drive electoral victories we've seen. The question is just an extension of the social upheaval of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. The real remarkable thing is that it's been simmering for so long without coming to the forefront yet. Probably many people thought that it was substantially settled, on account of this quiet, but it looks more like the two camps just quietly went their separate ways.

This is also why religious groups outside of Westboro mostly talk about focusing on the family and the social problems associated with single-parent households and divorce. (If you are not a member of these groups or do not have friends and family who are members of these groups, you are probably unaware of what this advocacy looks like. See also: the entire public policy of the Catholic church on this matter.)

FYI: This is how you can have an eminently nice person with nothing but respect for the intrinsic human rights and dignity of homosexuals, but who still votes for Prop 8 or Amendment 1 or a similar measure.

And you know what? What goes on between two people in private of their bedroom is nobody's business. What benefits the government makes available to people, through spending the public purse or giving people tax breaks or mandating certain sorts of treatment... that kind of is peoples' business. It's a public-policy question, and structuring public policy one way or another impacts society in several ways - including, in some jurisdictions, making your ability to operate as a business contingent on you performing some services that you might not want to perform (cf. New Mexico photography etc etc).

(Postscript. No particular stance for or against Proposition 8, or for or against Amendment 1, or any other public policy recommendation, is hereby endorsed. The following ideas are hereby endorsed: Gay people are human beings and deserve a substantially identical set of human rights and dignity as any other human being is entitled to receive. People who treat them otherwise may be some sort or another of monster. The extent to which these rights overlap with public policy in the matter of issuing marriages is controversial. Voters who support Amendment 1 or Prop 8, electorally or fiscally, are not monsters for doing so. Pluralism is good and it would be great if we all had some way to get along. Maybe we can start with more understanding.)

(Post-postscript. Added adoption to the list of misc. benefits as it is of special relevance as a way for a married gay couple to raise children.)

> FYI: This is how you can have an eminently nice person with nothing but respect for the intrinsic human rights and dignity of homosexuals, but who still votes for Prop 8 or Amendment 1 or a similar measure.

I think this is where the problem crops up. Many of the people commenting here see things as strictly black-and-white. Opposition to gay marriage is bigotry, support for gay marriage is sunshine and roses.

The problem is that it's impossible to reason with anyone who takes such a stance, because many of the arguments raised here are suggestive that any form of opposition to gay marriage is illustrative of hatred and bigotry against gays. There is absolutely no middle ground. Which is rather ironic, because the other arguments raised accuse the opponents of gay marriage of doing precisely the same thing and accepting no middle ground!

In another thread last week, I recall a particular discussion that implicitly suggested that those who believe the state shouldn't recognize any form of marriage are closet bigots, so I'm not entirely sure what to take away from this. It seems to me that there's far too much emotional investment to enjoy rational discourse. I can certainly understand why such emotions are raging uncontrollably, but as someone who is neither married nor really believes the state should have involvement in marriage (or at least, it should strictly be up to the state to be aware of certain long term relationships under contract law--not what those relationships are), it's a bit beyond me as to why there's so much disgust. I don't feel so compelled to hate someone based on their beliefs, much less stop using a specific browser for reasons other than technical merits.

Side note: I admit that I had to do some digging around to figure out why OkCupid was urging users to stay away from Firefox since I visited the site with Chromium. I had completely forgotten about the tempest in a teapot that occurred when Eich was appointed to CEO. I can't help but think this is something that's intensely fascinating and of interest to a relatively small but vocal minority of people, although going by my small sample size of one is probably disingenuous. Still, there are more important issues IMO, and using/supporting an open and standards compliant browser (and open source) is of far greater importance to me than someone's political stance who now happens to be CEO.

It'd be humorous to suggest a conspiracy at work here: Information about Eich's donation was dug up and clandestinely released by someone paid for by Microsoft in effort to undermine Mozilla should he ever be appointed CEO!

I don't know much about Eich, but I don't think he was working to make same-sex relationships illegal

He's on record as having made a fairly substantial donation to the Prop 8 campaign. That may not be "Fred Phelps" — let alone "Uganda" — levels of anti-marriage-equality, but it's close enough for my purposes.

Then I'd say you either don't know how tragic the situation in Uganda is, or you have no sense of proportion.


"The "not as bad as" argument, or the fallacy of relative privation, is a form of the moral equivalence fallacy that takes note of the existence of things that are worse than what is actually under discussion - for different purposes, as outlined below. It's popular with people who know perfectly well they're doing something wrong; being fully aware that they're doing something wrong, they feel compelled to attempt to justify it and do so by pointing to other, usually worse, actions."

Topic is an incorrect statement made in the article. This statement implied that Eich's actions were promoting outlawing homosexual relationships. There are countries where such laws still exist. Mentioning them and noting that there's a difference between facing prison for being in a homosexual relationship (which the article implied was something Eich was trying to achieve) and not being able to marry a same-sex partner is absolutely relevant. That's not a "logical fallacy". Calling it a logical fallacy on the other hand is.

Isn't there a false dilemma fallacy? Who invented all these fallacies? They seem to be unavoidable.

There's the fallacy fallacy, which says "just because you can match an argument to a fallacy doesn't mean you've proven anything":


It seems to be saying "you can't prove the conclusion of the argument is false", not "you can't prove anything". You can still prove the argument is invalid.

No one is making that argument. The GP comment said "it's close enough" to the situation in Uganda for his purposes. Goscarsno just claimed that that's not true at all (which I believe is correct - the situation in Uganda is objectively far worse.)

No one is making the argument that you are objecting to or using a worse situation to justify anything.


I don't see how that's relevant.

Just because Uganda is "worse" than opposing gay marriage does not imply that opposing gay marriage is at all positive.

Which is not what I said or even implied.

I said the situation in Uganda can't be considered "close" by any stretch of imagination to the situation in California until recently, before gay marriage was legalized. I also implied reaction should be proportionate to the degree of wrong. How the heck did you infer "opposing gay marriage is positive" from that?

> How the heck did you infer "opposing gay marriage is positive" from that?

You're a random person on the internet, I personally wouldn't rely on any implication to be clearly communicated. When in doubt, be explicit. This is even more important in threads (like these) where people run around with their heads on fire.

I think the opposite. To consider that not allowing gay marriage is a HUGE denial of equal rights to gays.

Not just flippantly saying "They can't get married, but they're still alive, right?"

Maybe thinking that it's ALL tragic is the best point of view in moving this world forward.

Baby steps, you have to start somewhere. (You know, the "First they came for the same sex marriage...", and all that).

"but I don't think he was working to make same-sex relationships illegal"

No, just marriage. His $1000 annulled existing gay marriages, and the situation didn't recover until 2013. You can't seriously expect that there won't be LOTS of people REALLY PISSED OFF ABOUT THAT. You can think they're wrong ... but those people are your prospective customers too.

But they still wouldn't be illegal. No one would go to jail for being married.

They just wouldn't be recognized by the state. That is way different than what OKCupid is trying to say.

> No one would go to jail for being married.

Well, Prop 8 specifically didn't try to do that, but that isn't unheard of in the US: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/10/indiana...

> They just wouldn't be recognized by the state.

Okcupid may have worded that badly, but the problem doesn't go away because it changed from "illegal" to "refusal to recognize/allow". It's still fundamentally terrible.

And yes, I recognize the difference between the two - I'm fully aware this country made interracial marriages like mine straight out illegal and not just unrecognized up until 50 years ago, and it's only been a week since I got married and I've already had to deal with thinly veiled racism.

"Illegal" is not the same thing as "criminal."

His $1,000 didn't do that, a majority of voters did.

OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

There is an irony that an entity that declares it is for creating love is going around declaring enemies, and wishing them failure. This clearly undermines their own message, and shows them to be of a similar us vs them hateship. There are Sides to be taken, and you don't want to be on the wrong one.

What they should have said is "we are disappointed, and would like to see Eich publicly change his opinion and make some form of recompense; we would like Eich to join us in our view"... instead of "FUCK THAT GUY".

Remember the people that picketed Fred Phelps' funeral with the sign "Sorry for your loss"? That is how you fight hate, not with more hate.

That's not really irony. It's generally okay to have a self-referential asterisk in rules like; Tolerance, except for intolerance. Free will, except where it impedes that of another. Peace & good will, except where you're about to punch me in the face. Etc. When people argue inconsistency in those cases, it's usually sophistry.

That's not to defend okcupid's tactics in this case. I'm just saying that it's not really an example of hypocrisy.

It's definitely an example of hypocrisy. To put it in prison terms, OKC is pursuing punishment rather than rehabilitation. If you're really about bringing people together and love, then you should be promoting trying to change peoples' minds to make them more inclusive, not blocking them altogether. Being hateful back at them simply reinforces their beliefs, and gives them a martyrdom story to pass on to like-minded people: "they say they're for love, but declared me an enemy and wished me failure". Making enemies of demographic groups divides people, pretty much by definition.

Our most brilliant scientists have recently discovered that the word "love" has multiple overlapping definitions. Strange but true.

What about "we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together"? How do you hand-wave away that comment of OKC's in a manner that still allows them to be divisive?

You got me. OkCupid's hypocrisy in this matter is clearly the most divisive issue in our society today. You should devote your website's front page to calling them out on it.

> Edit: this link works for everyone (it is provided in another submission): http://www.okcupid.com/home?mozilla_message=1

That message doesn't work for me. I think you have to be logged in.

This link works for me. Thanks!

"Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure."

Well that kind of bellicose chest-thumping should certainly win people over to the cause.

Why doesn't OkCupid take a bolder stance and remove all JavaScript from their site? Brendan invented it. I guess that wouldn't be convenient. Better to ask users to inconvenience themselves. This really isn't fair to all of the people who have worked so hard to make Firefox what it is today.

Why doesn't OKCupid take a bolder stance and give a button to all their users when they sign in, asking, "Do you support marriage equality?" If they click "no", it deletes your account.

I mean, as long as you've decided this is the sort of thing your business ought to be concerning itself with...

Wonderful idea!

Somebody should cook up some javascript (yes, grumble grumble) and start a campaign to embed this on every major site.

As clicking YES is too easy for bigots to get around, another version might require signing in to Facebook, Google or Twitter and upon clicking YES, posting a public message that you support marriage equality.

Obviously any website which does not take part in this campaign is not gay friendly and should be immediately boycotted.


Although that situation you outline might seem pretty extreme, spare a thought for those who suffer far worse discrimination in real life, where it actually matters. Cf. the bed and breakfast owner who asks "Are you gay?" and if the answer's "yes", shuts their door on you.

I will spare a thought! However, I will request that we could consider whether this marginalization and inconvenience is in fact effectively remedied by seeking systematic vengeance upon all people who oppose government recognition of these marriages...

No, fair point. Although I would like to think that a) those "seeking systematic vengeance" (which I agree is an overreaction) are in the minority of those raising this issue b) most people's concern isn't with the very narrow issue of "government recognition of these marriages" but the much wider issue of homophobic discrimination which the former is but a small part.

I have never in my life been asked if I was gay before any business transaction.

I was specifically referring to this case [1]. The status has gone back and forth several times on appeal, but it's most definitely an example of horrible bigotry.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/christian-bb-...

They should just merge with upworthy

Probably because while he may have invented Javascript, many people have contributed to it, so that's not really the same issue. We should assume there might be racists/biggots/etc working at Google on Chrome, at Apple on Safari and at Microsoft on Internet Explorer, too. That's not the point.

The issue is with Mozilla placing him as their executive leader; the endorsement that makes and the message that sends to the technical community & the wider world.

You can argue the exact same thing for mozilla and firefox: Brendan did not create firefox/mozilla, he's one of thousands who contributed.

People can have their own personal beliefs and as long as that doesn't effect the organization's open and inclusive policies.

I obviously wasn't clear enough - it's not about the contribution it's about leadership.

Brendan was an employee of Mozilla when he made his Prop 8 contribution - that's fine, that's his right and as you point out people are entitled to their own personal beliefs.

The issue is who a company/foundation/organization decides to be it's leader and the values that leader will exert upon the company/foundation/organization and the products it produces.

To be clear, my beef isn't with Brendan Eich (although I'd disagree with him if I met him), it's with Mozilla for selecting him to become CEO.

>people are entitled to their own personal beliefs //

You say that but the rest of the post makes it clear you don't believe that Mr Eich is entitled to his beliefs and that he shouldn't be employed [in this role] only because of those beliefs.

If he's entitled to hold those beliefs then he's entitle to be treated without prejudice for them, otherwise what do you mean by "entitled to"?

> technical community & the wider world

Hah, wider world. For most people, a browser is "the internet". They don't even care that it is made by a company. They certainly don't care about the CEO of this company who gave some money to some thing sometime in the past.

I think that is not how this is working out. Go to Google News, enter "eich" and see how much coverage this is getting in the international mainstream press.

> how much coverage this is getting in the international mainstream press.

Almost none. US based tech sites are reporting on it. I saw an article in the Guardian and HufPo as well. That's it. It's definitely not taking the world by storm.

There are plenty of companies I boycot and avoid patronizing based on concerns I have with their owners, executive leadership or company's position on issues important to me.

I don't think that is that uncommon, actually.

So, I'm guessing you don't watch movies made by 20th century fox, you don't read the Wall Street Journal, you don't shop at Kohl's, you don't eat any fruit from Dole, you don't eat at a Dairy Queen etc.

And if you take into account the whole wage-fixing cartel of Apple and co. you don't buy Apple products, you don't visit pages that display ads from Google etc. etc.

Javascript is not solely the product of Mozilla. It exists by itself, is standardized as ECMAScript, and provides no royalties to Brendan Eich. Firefox is a product of Mozilla. Mozilla, and by extension Eich, benefits from people using Firefox to browse the internet, particularly from searching Google through Mozilla's start page.

Whatever you think of Eich, of Mozilla, or of the entire situation, Firefox and Javascript are not the same thing here. If anyone means to make their displeasure felt in Mozilla's revenue, banning Javascript wouldn't make sense.

> This really isn't fair to all of the people who have worked so hard to make Firefox what it is today.

Do you mean it's not fair because it hurts these people, even though they haven't done anything objectionable?

Does he have any control over future development of javascript and how this future development will affect a wider community? I don't think he does.

But he is the CEO of the company, and what the company does going forward does depend on him a lot.

I think this is the key difference between boycotting the browser and boycotting the language.

And has he been directing Mozilla in a way that would reduce equality for all its users? Is this even remotely likely?

He's quite active on the ES-discuss mailing list. Though he expressively said he'd tone down his involvement on it with this appointment.

Because there is no trivially replaceable substitute for JavaScript in the site construction, as there is for the browser.

Last time I used OkCupid, I can't remember anything that would actually require JS to work. Real time updates (for instance, in IM) wouldn't be possible, but exchanging messages, looking at profiles and answering quiz questions is perfectly doable without JS.

(I know I always sound like someone who hates JavaScript, but at least for the stuff OkC had two years ago, it's not really crucial. IIRC, you could browse user profiles with JS off, but IM didn't work with JS off.)

The IM case can be done without JS, actually, using chunked encoding [1]. This is similar to the MIME multipart/x-mixed-replace technique [2] that was used for "streaming" webcams in the late 90s.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chunked_transfer_encoding [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME#Mixed-Replace

> Real time updates (for instance, in IM) wouldn't be possible

If we're going back in time, you can get this via Flash.

Flash uses ActionScript, which is an implementation of ECMAScript, which was designed by Brandan Eich. ECMAScript is a standardization of Javascript.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECMAScript

So you're saying that even someone who once made a morally wrong decision can still be competent enough to produce a technology that could serve to become a foundational component to the web as we know it?

Have you ever seen anyone suggesting anything remotely contrary, or are you just setting up the mother of all strawmen?

Heh. Just the other day at work I joked that people might get so upset at this that they organize and deploy a better JavaScript substitute for every possible use case.

One can hope ...

> Brendan invented it.

You're just giving people more of a reason to hate him.

I agree with the last sentence, but the first is a bit silly.

So boycotting something thousands of developers have worked on (including add-ons) because you don't like something the new CEO of a company did once that has nothing to do with the product you're boycotting is not silly.

But boycotting something that same person invented is.

I don't see the logic here. Really.

Mozilla released a blog post on Saturday clearly stating:

> Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples.


There's no evidence that Brendan Eich will bring any of his political views to the workplace; this continued backlash feels unwarranted.

The problem I've seen (and continue to see) from Eich and Mozilla is that the apology is denial: "I'm not a bad person! See -- I'm doing all of these good things!"

Apologies don't work that way. The right apology is something like: "I try to be a good person, but sometimes I don't get it right. 5 years ago, I did something hurtful to many of you. I did it because of ... What I didn't realize then and do realize now is that ... Thank you for helping me, and to those of you who I made the world a worse place for in the past, I'm sorry, and I'll do what I can to make things better in the future."

I'm not convinced that Eich believes that he did the wrong thing in 2008 - that as far as I can tell, if he were to wind the clock back, the only reason he wouldn't write that check is the trouble that it's causing him now, and not because he's gained some understanding of things.

This political-correctness frenzy is beyond ridiculous. A browser company should not have to give statements about political issues that have absolutely nothing to do with their business. What's next, regular declerations concerning basic income, marijuana legalization and the Crimea?

The notion that gender issues can exist outside of technology or culture is ridiculous, and an undercurrent that haunts many HN posts.

Silence, via shaming or suppression by a privileged status quo, perpetuates the prevailing stigmas and only serves to reinforce the very ignorance that birthed the attitudes.

While it might be uncomfortable for a privileged majority, we could all do well to at least be more open to dissenting opinions.

In this case, 8% of OKCupid’s “business” is directly related to the issue, so it seems precisely appropriate.

Well said.

This is mostly faux outrage. Brendan is one man, an easy target to scream and shout at.

Notice how nobody is protesting outside mosques and embassies where under Islam, the penalty for simply being gay, let alone getting married, is DEATH.

That's a ridiculous generalisation; the status of homosexuality and Islamic law is far more nuanced than that. Not only is there not a single death penalty for being gay across the entire Muslim world, the legal status of homosexuality differs greatly. Of course, that is not to say that many of those countries don't exhibit abhorrent views, but the same goes for many Christian communities too.

I would warrant that a larger proportion of HN's audience feels some kind of connection with the technology world than they do with that of Islam, and it feels more reasonable to clear your own back yard out first before complaining about the state of your neighbour's.

If you believe what is on wikipedia... http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Islam_and_Homosexuality

As of 1999 in Iran, more than 4,000 lesbians and gays had been executed since the 1979 Islamic revolution. ... As of 2009, homosexual relationships, acts or behavior are illegal in 36 Islamic countries. 10 impose the death penalty.

The Qur'an is pretty clear about what the punishment for being an atheist or homosexual is.

I'm not saying that Jewish and Christian religious texts don't also contain similar punishments, however, it's quite clear that anyone who believes in all the things the Qur'an says would have to believe that it's acceptable to put atheists and homosexuals to death for no other reason.

Similarly in most judeo-christian religions you see similar opposition to homosexuality being treated on an equal footing to heterosexuality, not to mention the rest of the sexual repression commonly found in those religions.

The issue I, and I think others, have with this appointment is what the appointment implies: in a world where many hateful people hold power, yet another hateful person should hold power (in, of all places, an organization seemingly rooted in progress).

But if we discriminate against him purely on the basis of his beliefs (and not his actions on the job), we are no better than he.

(If his personal beliefs do pollute his work then do as you will, run the guy out of town on a rail if you must)

I disagree. There are actions which should be applied to oppressors and not the oppressed. Publicly embarrassing bigots is necessary to show that such beliefs will not be socially accepted; public embarrassment of minority groups is hatred.

Just a disclaimer: I fully support discrimination against bigots such as refusal of service.

But then you wind up feeding the narrative, which we've heard so much, that gay marriage opponents are the ones actually being oppressed here. I think that's mostly crap... except, perhaps, for cases like this one.

I'm not even sure what I think about it, but I can't reject silverstorm's point out of hand.

So it's ok only when done to the people you don't like.

If you're accusing him of "not liking" bigots, you're probably correct.

Why, specifically, is it okay for Eich to fund the oppression of homosexuals and not okay for people to say that they find that upsetting and therefore would prefer not to use or serve products he's associated with? What level would his bigotry have to ascend to before people were no longer obligated to use these products or, at least, not tell anyone they're not using them and why?

Google says this about bigotry:

"big·ot·ry ˈbigətrē/Submit noun 1. bigoted attitudes; intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself."

Gays who want to oppress anyone for not thinking like them are also being bigots by that definition. Marriage has been between a man and a woman throughout the history of humans. I think Gays should have legal equality. They can not usurp a word that has had such a clear meaning throughout the core existence of humankind.

Marriage has been between a man and a woman throughout the history of humans.

I see this repeated often in these discussions, and it's a breathtakingly arrogant assertion. How the hell do you know? Have you spent years studying anthropology?

In fact, sexual mores have varied quite substantially throughout the thousands of years of human history and the hundreds of civilizations that have come and gone in that time. I think if you actually look into the matter, you'll discover this "fact" you keep repeating is anything but.

Tell me more about this English word that "has had such a clear meaning throughout the core existence of humankind".

Retreating to dictionary definitions does not make a point, nor does asserting that prejudice by an oppressive class against an oppressed class is the same as the converse.

>> Retreating to dictionary definitions does not make a point

Well, yea, actually, it made it quite clearly, hence my post.

>> nor does asserting that prejudice by an oppressive class against an oppressed class is the same as the converse.

Oppression is oppression, elegance and articulation do not change that. Your attempt to say that my belief and understanding of the meaning if a single word describing a single legal institution is oppression underestimates what I was stating originally; that we who believe and understand the meaning of the word marriage are being oppressed by a very vocal, sometimes very vocally belligerent and socially irreverent group in context minimally and notwithstanding.

> are being oppressed

Are you being beaten to death for your sexual orientation? Are you having your fostered children of many years removed from your family? Are you being denied the right to be with your spouse in the hospital or on their deathbed?

You are in no sense "being oppressed". This is the way in which your "oppression" is not oppression, and one of many reasons why retreating to dictionary definitions of words is a cowardly, useless way to argue.

Black people would be bigots against racists by that definition. Your interpretation of that word is obviously flawed.

Nobody's obligated to use Firefox. The problems arise when a business like OKCupid starts publicly dissuading its users from using Firefox.

What problem is created by OkCupid dissuading users from Firefox, exactly?

Action against those in positions of power who cause harm to others is meaningfully different to action against those who are already victimised. The first is a movement for social change that increases the net good in the world, the second is simple oppression.

In the same sense, one might say that overthrowing a fascist dictator is more morally justified than overthrowing a peaceful democracy to install said dictatorship. Both are violence against a government, but they exist in different moral contexts.

That's how it works for the vast majority of people, who believe that moral truths exist as real attributes of humans or the Universe. Their own morals are right, and all other morals are wrong.

And someone else could just say that the people arguing in favor of gay rights are the oppressor, and the argument has gone nowhere.

He materially supported a campaign to deny rights to a subset of the population. That action, not belief.

You may want to look into the principles of common and natural law...

Pretty much every law in the common law system, including the constitution, is a law that denies rights to subsets of the population.

The only question is whether you are in favor of such regulation. I'm personally not in favor of regulating homosexuality or marriage.

But what did that have to do with his job? Did he divert company funds to that campaign?

"you gotta be tolerant of the intolerant" is a really shitty argument.

Philosopher Karl Popper asserted, in The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol. 1, that we are warranted in refusing to tolerate intolerance.


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

No, my argument is more like "Don't fight intolerance with intolerance"

I don't think I believe, for better or worse, people are capable of that extremely segmenting their lives. Strong disapproval of someone for his or her lifestyle is inevitably going to creep into your interactions with that person.

Yes, but Eichs has never said he hates gays - if you can find a single case or interaction where he has, please share it with the community.

(Or possibly don't - I personally think this entire stupid affair is being blown our of proportion. What the guy does in his own time is his own damn business. If and only if he somehow lets it bleed into his work, sure, you can do your whole outrage, let's boycott Firefox dance).

Look, the guy has a traditional view of marriage - the same view the human race had for thousands of years. Sure, some people want to redefine that, and they're well within rights to do that - nothing wrong with that.

However, this silly overbearing PC nonsense is getting old - we already get this faux outrage from the Moral Police every time the gender issue crops up.

Look, I get we want girls in tech - diversity helps, and it sucks they're not encouraged more to go into it.

Personally, I think this whole marriage thing is overblown. E.g.:


I don't think it was ever really about that. Mozilla is a great organization, partly because of Brendan's involvement over the years. Still it's perplexing that he feels so strongly about this. He's being criticized from every corner and bringing lots of negative attention to Mozilla and yet and he's sticking to his guns.

This isn't going to go away. At best he's going to be seen as the guy who doesn't support gay marriage in a world where this sort of view is becoming more and more untenable.

Well, wouldn't you respect him less, if he simply changed his views for political expediency?

And last time I checked, when Prop8 went through, wasn't he with a majority of Californians...lol.

I don't get how the supporters of gay marriage something think (or try to claim) that their view is automatically right, arguments be damned.

Marriage has been defined as a man and woman for thousands of years.

Yes, that can be changed, and they're well within rights to do so - maybe the human race is changing.

But to claim that, we don't need to stinking arguments, and just say, we must be right seems a bit stupid.

Surely, if you're going to redefine something that important, you'd want to lead with your arguments, and not, oh, it's just natural we're right, and your position is untenable.

Can the CEO of a corporation still function as CEO when he personally doesn't believe on his company policies?

Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples, but his new CEO does not? I'm sorry, but it just does not compute.

They released it too late.

If they had ANY clue, they'd have thought of this ahead of time. e.g. Brendan donates $2k or $5k to a gay charity requiring a public record (as the Prop 8 donation did) three months ago, someone notices two months ago, he can then stay as gnomic as he likes. Something like that. But, y’know, literally nobody in the upper echelons of Mozilla thought of this.

That neither Eich or the board thought of this ahead of the time does, actually, suggest they're not up to the job. This is SIMPLE STUFF.

>That neither Eich or the board thought of this ahead of the time does, actually, suggest they're not up to the job. This is SIMPLE STUFF.

Evidence suggests that they've been spending months fighting a battle pertaining to picking an insider as CEO, which ultimately caused three members to resign from the Moz Co. board.

Which explains why they were so unprepared for anything else.

e: Bogus theory by Ars and WSJ, Mozilla issued a statement that the shake-up of board members was planned well in advance amongst themselves for various reasons.

Two of the three resignations were planned beforehand and were not related to the CEO choice (see the update at the bottom of http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/03/three-mozilla-board-...).

Thanks for the clarification, haven't been following this very closely and didn't read Mozilla's statement in response (it wasn't very prompt.)

Nevertheless, I'd suggest that being able to walk and chew gum is something a CEO needs.

"If they had ANY clue, they'd have thought of this ahead of time."

Maybe they were occupied finding a man with the necessary technical and leading capabilities, plus the experience and whatever else I may have forgot?

it's EXTREMELY bizarre that they would not have seriously thought of it.

Unless they all share the same opinions as Eich and they feel that being against gay marriage is like being against anchovies on your pizza. Then it would never have hit them that this was a serious problem.

Is it right to not employ someone because of their legally held beliefs with regard to sexual behaviour?

Is HN [amongst others] calling for all people who disagree with legislation on homosexual relationships being called marriage to forfeit their rights to employment; or perhaps all those that consider homosexual sexual activity to be wrong? That seems like the logical conclusion here.

Is this going to be continued with all beliefs - ousting those that disprove of drunkennes or drug taking or polygamy or adultery?

Why should a company pry in to an employee's private beliefs and associations in the way you're suggesting?

This is more of an opinion about what is best for Mozilla's image in the public eye, not about anyone's right to have a job.

You can without a doubt hire a murderer as your CEO. It will always be my opinion that you should at least think very hard about doing so before you make the final decision.

If you run for president and you're a satan worshipper, then it would be my opinion that you will lose. If you own a cookie company and want to hire a murderer as a CEO, it would simply be my opinion that you may lose sales. If you don't care about my opinion, or don't care about sales, and go ahead and hire a murderer as CEO, then that's perfectly fine. At the end of the day, it's really up to you.

But if someone out there wants to organize a boycott because the CEO isn't a vegan, that's also fine.

I think stupidity is a sufficient explanation.

"I'm envisioning the board standing around with glassy stares, 'I have no idea how this could have happened. We totally vetted his geek cred.'" - rone

But, at the same time, it still had to not bother them sufficiently enough to raise serious questions.

To me, it's like watching someone kick a puppy and then considering him for CEO.

"hey, how about this guy? He kicked a puppy."

"Is there anything about him that we need to be aware of?"

"no, not that I know of."

> They released it too late.

Calls for boycott are happening AFTER it was released. I think it's the content (or lack thereof) of that letter that makes it ineffective.

> If they had ANY clue, they'd have thought of this ahead of time. e.g. Brendan donates $2k or $5k to a gay charity requiring a public record

So now we prefer lying bigots to honest bigots? That reeks so much of hypocrisy, it is disgusting.

I know. But, y'know, "I've tried to take away your rights and I refuse to talk about it, but hey! I promise I won't do it again, baby!" isn't playing out too well in practice.

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