Andrew Sullivan: Brendan Eich's Ouster as Mozilla CEO 'Disgusts Me'

Gay advocacy groups have been attacking tech company Mozilla for appointing a new CEO who once donated $1,000 to a 2008 campaign for traditional marriage in California. In only a week that new CEO has stepped down, prompting some to wonder if supporting traditional marriage is now a "boardroom crime" and if gay advocates have "overstepped."

At the end of March, Mozilla, maker of the popular web browser Firefox, appointed Brendan Eich as its newest CEO. Eich is the inventor of Javascript – a code that most web browsers need to operate – and a co-founder of Mozilla. However, as soon as he was chosen gay activists began to attack Mozilla because it had been revealed that he donated $1,000 to California's Prop 8, a measure to secure special status for traditional marriage.

Only a week later, gay fanatics won their battle, with Eich now announcing that he will step down and refuse the role of CEO.

This state of affairs prompted Andrew Sullivan, a gay author and columnist, to essentially accuse gay activists of quashing Eich's First Amendment rights: "The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society," he wrote. "If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us."

Michael Barbaro, a reporter for The New York Times, tweeted that Sullivan was calling this "the moment the gay rights movement overstepped," and himself was moved to tweet this: "This is giant news, and makes me wonder, is opposition to gay marriage now a boardroom crime?"

For its part, Mozilla fell all over itself to apologize to gay activists and apparently didn't see the hypocrisy in its own statements.

"Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality," Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker wrote. "Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."

It seems that the only "freedom of speech" valued by Mozilla is that of gay activists. Religious people need not apply.

This whole situation serves as an important lesson in the level of so-called "transparency" that liberals want in politics. For years, now, the donor lists for Prop 8 have been used by gay activists as a weapon to destroy people who supported the traditional marriage measure.

This is the same sort of "transparency" that liberals want for all political donors. They say they want to allow Americans to know who supports what issues, but in truth all they want is a way to find out who they may want to target for destruction.

At the height of Jim Crow, the U.S. Supreme Court already spoke to these sorts of assassination lists by ruling that the NAACP did not have to inform the State of Alabama who its donors and members were. It was clear, the Court held, that the State was only trying to find out whom to target to destroy the African American advocacy group.

In its unanimous 1957 decision, the SCOTUS held that forcing the NAACP to reveal its donors and members would have had the effect of suppressing legal association.

So, the question remains, should a man like Eich, who is eminently qualified to serve as the CEO of a tech company he helped start, be publicly pilloried and have his career destroyed merely because he donated to a political cause the left doesn't like? This is precisely why liberals want donors and membership lists revealed to the public.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.


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