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Kelly Bartlett / April 3, 2014

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Slammed for Supporting Gender Diversity

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich is being pilloried for supporting gender integration in marriage. Eich co-founded Mozilla and invented JavaScript, the most commonly used computer programming language, but he’s in the news now for defending gender diversity.

Six years ago Eich donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8, which states, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Many gay rights activists jumped to the conclusion that everyone who endorsed Prop 8, including Eich, must be anti-gay.

Note that there is no mention of homosexuality or sexual orientation in that amendment, or for that matter, on a marriage license. Instead, Prop 8 deals strictly with gender. Nevertheless, proponents of gender-segregated marriage are outraged that Eich had the audacity to support gender integration. (Are they equally angry at President Obama, who also endorsed pro-gender marriage up until 2012?)

Same sex enthusiasts are not just targeting Eich; they also are calling on consumers to boycott his company. For example, dating site OKCupid wrote to users linking to their site via Mozilla’s Firefox Internet browser:

“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.”

One itty-bitty problem. Segregating genders in marriage will automatically “deny love” between mothers and children. If OKCupid wants to bring “all people” together, then why do they endorse male marriage, which separates children from their mothers and divides mothers and fathers? If they believe equality is “personally important,” then why intentionally deprive some children of the chance to have a loving relationship with their mom? Don’t gays’ children have an equal right to mothers?

For these reasons and others, some gays do not support sex discrimination in marriage. Are they “anti-gay” for not supporting male marriage?   One major problem with same sex marriage is that it grants more importance to sexual diversity than to gender diversity. Many, such as OKCupid, want to “enforce misery, shame, and frustration” on those who disagree with this sexist view of marriage. 

Eich has responded to all the hate mail with a blog post:

“I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion…I intend to demonstrate with meaningful action my commitment to a Mozilla that lives up to its ideals, including that of being an open and inclusive community.”

Does this mean Eich will now start promoting same sex marriage?

Not according to Hampton Catlin “who with his husband comprises the development firm Rarebit.” Catlin reported to CNET:

“[Eich] fended off the question [of whether he would vote ‘yes’ on Prop. 8 again] without answering, which leads me to believe that he is totally unwilling to empathize with those of us who suffered under the law…”

“After having the meeting, I was truly surprised to see him double down on his original position of sticking his fingers in his ear and saying ‘inclusion’ over and over again,” he said. …

“I asked him to just issue a statement that his personal, private beliefs remained the same about what a traditional family is, but that he recognized that we should not legislate morality and that those laws had a tangible negative effect on people,” Catlin said. “Instead, he fell back to his defensive position and refuses to apologize for helping to fund a law that actively discriminated against his own employees and community.”

In other words, Eich vows to foster openness and inclusivity to all at Mozilla “regardless of sexual orientation.” Yet he didn’t retract support for Prop 8. Is this proof Eich understands that you can treat the LGBT community with respect and at the same time, honor gender diversity in marriage law? These are not mutually exclusive.

What is exclusive is same sex marriage. Each male marriage excludes a woman. It lacks a wife who can be a mother for subsequent children. And each female marriage excludes a husband and father. That’s not marriage equality. That’s same sexism marriage. 

Catlin says we shouldn’t “legislate morality” yet he would have us legislate sex discrimination in marriage. (If not morals, what are laws supposed to be based on? Emotions? Attractions?) For all his talk of inclusion and discrimination, it is same sex marriage that excludes people based on their sex. In contrast, pro-gender marriage welcomes both men and women regardless of sexual orientation.

Since Eich invented JavaScript, he knows how important language is. Words have meaning. And gender matters to everyone. Let’s hope Eich continues to get the language of marriage correct and perseveres in supporting pro-gender marriage.

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