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Three Mozilla board members resign over CEO who opposes same-sex marriage

Monday, March 31, 2014
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Three Mozilla board members have resigned over the selection of Brendan Eich, a Mozilla co-founder, as the company’s new chief executive.

The resignations are the latest fallout since the announcement last week that Eich — who in 2008 donated to fight against marriage equality in California — would lead Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox web browser.

Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich

Gary Kovacs, a former Mozilla CEO who runs online security company AVG Technologies; John Lilly, another former Mozilla CEO now a partner at venture-capital firm Greylock Partners; and Ellen Siminoff, CEO of online education startup Shmoop, left the board last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mozilla has been in damage control since Eich’s promotion when developers Hampton Catlin and his husband Michael went public with their decision to boycott the Mozilla community because of Eich was a donor to California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 campaign.

Eich responded to the controversy, saying in a statement last week that he was sorry for “causing pain,” that he would make an “active commitment to equality” at Mozilla, but did not directly address his position on same-sex marriage equality or his donation to the Prop 8 campaign.

The statement fell flat with some Mozilla employees, who took to Twitter to call for Eich to step down.

On Saturday, Mozilla posted a statement on its blog that it supports marriage equality:

Over the past few days we have been asked a number of questions about Brendan Eich’s appointment as CEO. This post is to clarify Mozilla’s official support of equality and inclusion for LGBT people.

Mozilla’s mission is to make the Web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just. This is why Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally.

Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, added “that people are angry and don’t know who we are or where we stand,” and that in the time it takes to work through the controversy, “Mozilla will be deeply damaged.”

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