Brendan Eich discusses the gay-marriage firestorm surrounding Mozilla

Brendan Eich, Mozilla’s new chief executive, told CNET that Mozilla itself is under threat by the firestorm surrounding his donation to Prop. 8, the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative. Since the controversy erupted, as I wrote about in a column, Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser, has been torn between two values the Internet community holds dear: Free speech and the battle for equality. 

Brendan Eich knew there would be challenge staking over as Mozilla chief executive — competing with Chrome, rebuilding the Web as a foundation for apps, finding a mobile foothold for Firefox OS. What he didn’t expect was that a political issue would push aside those technology concerns. Eich’s donation of $1,000 to the Proposition 8 effort to ban gay marriage in California, made in 2008 and uncovered through public records in 2012, became a rallying point for a large and vocal group that has fought for years for those marriage rights. More than 70,000 people have signed a petition asking for Eich to resign if he can’t unequivocally say he supports marriage equality.

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