I share Bill Zeiser’s outrage concerning Brendan Eich being forced to walk the plank at Mozilla because he had the temerity to donate his own money back in 2008 in support of Proposition 8 in California which sought to ban gay marriage. He was forced out by people who might not have careers if it were not for Eich’s hard work and innovation. Some reward.
If one looks at this rationally why should gay rights advocates give a damn if Eich gave money in support of Proposition 8? Although Prop 8 did pass in November 2008, it was struck down by a federal judge less than two years later and that decision was upheld in the appellate courts and eventually in the Supreme Court. The last I checked same sex marriage is legal in California despite Eich’s modest efforts.
But when it comes to gay marriage, many of its advocates cannot and will not act rationally. In his piece at NRO, Charles C.W. Cooke cites Owen Thomas’ demands that Eich repudiate his support for Proposition 8 and donate the equivalent amount of money to the Human Rights Campaign or another LGBT organization that he donated in support of Prop 8. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what we call a shakedown.
Like Cooke, I support gay marriage. But like Cooke, I also don’t believe that people who oppose same sex marriage should be deprived of earning a living, engaging in commerce or otherwise pursuing economic opportunities. I look at l’affaire Eich in much the same way I viewed former Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s refusal to let Chick-fil-A open a restaurant near Fanueil Hall in the summer of 2012 because of owner Dan Cathay’s views against same sex marriage. If Chick-fil-A could pay the rent then it wasn’t for Menino to say they couldn’t open their doors nor was there any evidence that Chick-fil-A had ever discriminated against any of their customers or employees who happened to be LGBT. Although this spawned a nationwide protest, Chick-fil-A ultimately did not open a restaurant in Downtown Boston and we are poorer for it.