The ousting of Brendan Eich from his post as CEO of the Mozilla Foundation is seen by many as a blow against intolerance. It is in fact the opposite, and if gay rights groups expand such ‘outings’ as a tool to suppress opposition, they risk deepening the antagonism and resistance by people who view them as a threat to our culture.
Given his nearly two decades of experience in maintaining and improving a critical piece of the Internet infrastructure, Eich was a logical choice to lead the Mozilla foundation. The flagship product of this non-profit is the Firefox browser, which traces its lineage to the Netscape browser, and Eich had been one of the people who had shepherded the project as it grew like a phoenix from the ashes of a defunct company.
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.
Now, let us be clear: the complaint against Eich had nothing to do with his job. Firefox was not an anti-gay software platform. In fact, I doubt that it’s codebase contains any logic pertaining to sexual orientation.
The Mozzilla Foundation produces open source tools that allow people to publish informsation and communicate with each other via the Internet. If anything the Mozilla Foundation has and will continue to help members of marginalized groups or groups that are discriminated against to connect with and support each other.
That wasn’t going to change with Eich at the helm.
So, OKCupid wasn’t upset at the way Eich was doing his job, they wanted to fire him because they hated that he had once supported a political movement they hated. They wanted nothing but failure for him.
But what was his crime? The political movement he had given $1,000 to that lost in the courts. Proposition 8 cratered. Completely. And with changing demographics, it will be decades before something like it has a chance of winning at the polls and being upheld by the courts.
In short what the senior officers of OKCupid were hoping to do was to intimidate the opponents of gay marriage into silence. Rather than being gracious victors who foster peace, they wished to continue fighting. And in doing so, they will only embolden their opponents in the culture war to fight harder.
Most of the opponents of gay marriage fear the cultural upheaval that would result from such a massive change to an institution that they see as the foundation of society. The way to get them to accept the change is by showing them that the inclusion of homosexual relationships in the set of legally sanctioned unions will not destroy society, that their lives will continue, their communities prosper, and their children will be allowed to grow to realize their potential.
Attempting to destroy their livelihoods and drive them out of civil society will go against that goal. Persecuting them will only harden their hearts against those who persecute them. OK Cupid did not strike a blow for tolerance. Rather, they flamed the fires of intolerance, and who knows what those flames will consume should those fires burn out of control.