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A man is seen next to a Firefox logo at a Mozilla stand during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Feb. 28, 2013. (REUTERS/Albert Gea) A man is seen next to a Firefox logo at a Mozilla stand during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Feb. 28, 2013. (REUTERS/Albert Gea)  

Mozilla CEO out over opposition to gay marriage

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Chuck Ross
Reporter

Backlash over a past political contribution has caused Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla — a firm which operates the popular web browser Firefox — to resign.

On Thursday, Mozilla announced on its website that Eich would be stepping down after a $1,000 contribution that he made in support of California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 ballot initiative in 2008 generated outrage.

Numerous blogs and news outlets jumped on the contribution — which first came to light in 2012 — as evidence that Eich is intolerant of gays and that he is unfit for the top job at Mozilla, a tech firm he co-founded in 1998. Eich also created JavaScript, the popular web scripting language, in 1995.

The popular online dating website OkCupid increased pressure on Mozilla, going as far as far as blocking Firefox browser users from accessing their site.

“Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples,” read a greeting at OkCupid’s website. “We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.”

Announcing the decision on Thursday, Mozilla distanced itself from its recent hire.

“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it,” reads a statement from Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker.

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

Despite its opposition to Eich’s political donations, one of OkCupid’s co-founders has given money to political candidates who expressed opposition to gay marriage.

Sam Yagan, who is currently CEO of the Match Group, which controls OkCupid, donated $500 to Barack Obama in 2007 and 2008 back when he still opposed gay marriage.

While president of the tech company Metamachine, Yagan also gave $500 to Republican Utah Rep. Chris Cannon. In 2006 Cannon voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment, which would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the Constitution.

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