Mozilla announced that its brand new CEO Brendan Eich has just resigned. All of this comes in the wake of pressure from gay rights activists who said that Eich’s support of traditional marriage rendered him unworthy of leading the company. Here’s a snippet from the statement explaining Eich’s resignation:
Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.
Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.
Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.
We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.
There is a culture war being waged in this situation, but not by Eich. Eich’s views on marriage have had no impact on his performance except that opponents view his opinions as bigoted and outside the bounds of rationality. In other words, supporting traditional marriage renders one unfit to lead a major corporation.
Notice too that acceptance of gay marriage is the necessary condition of free speech at Mozilla. Yes, one can have free speech at this company as long as it does not conflict with the new orthodoxy on marriage.
Unfortunately, I expect we’ll be seeing more and more stories like this one. Activist have succeeded in equating the conjugal view of marriage with bigotry and hatred. As that point of view spreads in our culture, employers will be less and less willing to risk their company’s brand on employees who might tarnish that brand with their personal views. The effect? Those who support traditional marriage will have to conceal their views or face the consequences.
This does not portend good things, but it is an indication of things to come.