Silence Isn’t Golden

Maybe the closet isn’t such a bad thing — if only you can get the right people into one.

That is the premise of the crusade against Brendan Eich.  Maybe our heterosexual allies who have been so vehement on our behalf can be forgiven for not appreciating the natural consequences of this movement; but if gays can’t oppose what is happening, there is no meaningful definition of “irony” left.

Californians in particular should take heed.  Andrew Sullivan helpfully cites our Labor Code section 1102, which explicitly prohibits discriminating against employees based on their political beliefs and actions.  But that’s just the start.

That statute, along with its companion section 1101 served as the foundation for launching the public part of the gay rights movement in this state.  In a 1979 case called Gay Law Students Ass’n v. PT&T, our Supreme Court ruled for the first time that lesbians and gay men could not be discriminated against by employers based on their public activities in support of gay equality.  The case did not say they can’t be discriminated against for being homosexual — it was strictly based on public political actions.

Here is the court’s reasoning:

A principal barrier to homosexual equality is the common feeling that homosexuality is an affliction which the homosexual worker must conceal from his employer and his fellow workers. Consequently one important aspect of the struggle for equal rights is to induce homosexual individuals to “come out of the closet,” acknowledge their sexual preferences, and to associate with others in working for equal rights.

In light of this factor in the movement for homosexual rights, the allegations of plaintiffs’ complaint assume a special significance. Plaintiffs allege that PT&T discriminates against “manifest” homosexuals and against persons who make “an issue of their homosexuality.” The complaint asserts also that PT&T will not hire anyone referred to them by plaintiff Society for Individual Rights, an organization active in promoting the rights of homosexuals to equal employment opportunities. These allegations can reasonably be construed as charging that PT&T discriminates in particular against persons who identify themselves as homosexual, who defend homosexuality, or who are identified with activist homosexual organizations. So construed, the allegations charge that PT&T has adopted a “policy … tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees” in violation of section 1101, and has “attempt[ed] to coerce or influence … employees … to … refrain from adopting [a] particular course or line of political … activity” in violation of section 1102.

Eich, of course, is not an employee, so this doesn’t apply to him in particular.  But it is very clear that if he had not publicly supported Prop. 8 so many years ago, he would be CEO of Mozilla today.  And he is not alone in his beliefs.

That’s what the closet feels like, to those of us who have been there.

I don’t think there is much chance of marriage equality failing in California any more due to Eich’s — or anyone else’s — urging.  It’s now even possible to imagine some form of relationship recognition as a federal constitutional right.

But even if there were, trying to enforce silence on one side of a debate is a time-tested malevolence, which gays more than anyone should recognize.  Pretty much all of the civil arguments against equality have failed because they were given the space to be aired against the opposing arguments.  What is there to gain today, except some noxious exhilaration, by trying to silence or punish the true believers?

We had to be silent once.  That’s nothing to wish on anyone.

97 Comments for “Silence Isn’t Golden”

  1. posted by Mike in Houston on

    Did a government entity attempt to “silence” Eich? No.

    Did the Board of Directors of Mozilla attempt to “silence” Eich? No.

    Did the employees of Mozilla attempt to “silence” Eich? No.

    Mozilla was company that according to many sources was struggling because of previous poor decisions by Eich and the Board which left it largely out of the emerging tablet / mobile market. As newly elevated CEO, his first challenge was to steer through what would normally have been a tempest in a teapot regarding his political giving — but instead of addressing the issues head-on, he failed in the one task that CEO’s can’t fail at: being the face of the company in a crisis (real or not).

    As a technocrat, Eich was an excellent asset for Mozilla. As CEO, he was not.

    All the ancillary sturm & drang being posited by you, Stephen or Andrew Sullivan about the evil, progressive gays is just noise.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Dead on. The facts in this “controversy” have emerged with sufficient clarity to give lie to the sophomoric analysis that has become conventional wisdom among the chattering class.

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        How I wish we gays had the superpowers projected onto us by the right. We might be able to pass gay rights legislation or even repeal the rest of DOMA. But no. It’s a struggle to get even the most modest tasks accomplished but somehow just a few words of criticism on the internet can bring down a CEO? That really does strain credulity.

    • posted by Jzero on

      Isn’t that sidestepping the issue, though? You basically ignore the point that people *are* attempting – succeeding – to silence Eich through public pressure and outrage. No, it’s not official government or even corporate suppression, but it’s suppression nonetheless, by people who one thinks ought to know better. Brushing it off isn’t addressing the matter, it’s at best ignoring it, or worse, rationalizing it.

  2. posted by Julie on

    The board erred in picking a controversial figure, but those who called for his ouster were stepping straight (yep – straight) into a trap.

    Sure, as CEO and the face of Mozilla, his actions were going to be scrutinized. Sure, you could predict some of what was going to happen.

    But each individual had the choice of how to react, and those who chose to take umbrage at his political positions – offensive as they may find them – were hounding him, pursuing him for his personal stance.

    And $1000? For a man in his position, that’s a nominal sum.

    • posted by John (not McCain) on

      May you one day work for a man who donates money to organizations seeking to deny you equal rights under the law.

  3. posted by Houndentenor on

    The assumption that Eich’s resignation as CEO is solely or even primarily due to his Prop 8 donation is a bold one. I find it hard to believe that a bit of chatter from a few gay blogs and a statement or two from gay lobbying groups caused a resignation without other circumstances. In fact it’s absurd to the point of comedy that gays have that much power when we accomplish so little on so many fronts. Unless there is evidence that this is the main reason that he stepped down, I will continue to assume that there were a variety of problems. Having worked for a few CEOs in the past, I know that the official reason for such decisions is never the full explanation.

    • posted by Chris Grasso on

      Yes, in fact, there is direct evidence that his stance on Prop 8 and his failure to sufficiently repent were the direct cause of his forced resignation. Just read the postings of Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla Foundation.

    • posted by Jorge on

      Tom S posted a link pointing to such evidence in the last blog post. He argued that the Prop 8 donation exacerbated the controversy over his selection but that it was really about personalities. Even that is not acceptable to me.

      But to be quire frank, I come to the opposite conclusion from that piece. You impose a condition–only gay lobbying groups count–that is not appropriate. This was an internal dispute. But I don’t see any evidence that the internal dispute was about anything other than his Prop 8 donation. Am I wrong?

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        This was an internal dispute. But I don’t see any evidence that the internal dispute was about anything other than his Prop 8 donation. Am I wrong?

        In a word, yes, at least based on the evidence that is emerging.

        Eich was a divisive choice for other reasons, which is why half the board resigned before the vote on his appointment. Eich did not have solid CEO skills and his dedication to the computer platform rather than the tablet/smart form platform for the company’s browser was out of sync with the company’s future needs. Citing people familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal reported the three board members resigned because they wanted the new CEO to be an outsider “who could help expand the organization’s Firefox OS mobile-operating system and balance the skills of co-founders Eich and Baker.

        In a word, Eich’s appointment was controversial and divisive before a word was said about his views on social issues. After all, the company knew about, and tolerated, those views while he was CTO of the company, and the Board (what remained of it after the resignations, anyway) appointed him without apparent concern about those views.

        The internal dispute over those issues preceeded the more public internal dispute over the wisdom of putting Eich forward as the public face of the company, and there is no question that Eich’s inept handling of the more public internal dispute over his views on social issues was what sealed his fate as the company’s CEO.

        But the available evidence emerging in articles in the mainstream economic/technology press strongly suggests that the internal dispute, at least initially, had nothing much to do with Eich’s views on social issues.

        • posted by Weasel Hunter on

          Ignorance is bliss. Half the board resigned, but:

          * One (Siminoff) was on her way out for six months and took the opportunity to exit before voting to appoint a CEO and getting on the hook.

          * One was fired from the board for fiduciary breach (Kovacs, the likely leaker who cooked up that self-serving crapola about needing a CEO “who could help expand the organization’s Firefox OS mobile-operating system and balance the skills of co-founders Eich and Baker”).

          * The last member (Lilly) did quit to avoid appointing Eich but did not raise the Prop 8 donation as an issue at any point.

          The remaining board members did manage to unanimously appoint Eich, so they own that.

          As for Eich not being a leader of Mozilla moving hard to mobile: again relying on that junior WSJ reporter is foolish. Eich’s name is on the B2G (Firefox OS) launch message from 2011 ( Eich was the executive (CTO) who sponsored and then pushed for the native Firefox for Android app in fall 2011, over the old, slow, fat XUL version, overcoming inertia in the engineering organization.

          Last thing: Eich had many LGBT supporters on staff. I’m an ally of theirs. The tweets calling for his resignation came from Mozilla Foundation employees not part of the Mozilla Corporation.

          – WH

  4. posted by Joe on

    I applaud Mr. Sullivan’s remarks, as they relate to Mr, Eich. I know the gay and lesbian communities do not stand for or tolerate this type of behavior due to one’s beliefs and/or rights. Just because I have different views on gay marriage, doesn’t mean I hate anybody! I just believe that marriage is between a man & woman. That is what makes this nation strong. God gave us free will and we are free to believe in Him or not, period. I choose the former, but don’t hate people who choose the latter.

    Thank you Mr. Sullivan!

    • posted by Doug on

      Yes, you are free to believe anything your little heart desires. Actions, however, have consequences. Eich has a long history of contributing to far right causes which is totally his right to do so. But again, actions have consequences.

      • posted by Kevin on

        Unless you’re comfortable with anyone who contributed to HRC getting fired, you don’t make a lot of sense. You’ve set a precedent for a social norm of getting fired for who you contribute to.

        Be careful what you wish for…

      • posted by Michael Blackburn on

        Yes, like the action of this leading to “gag clauses” in corporate employment contracts, or the action that a legislative solution to Citizens’ United is now completely and utterly off the table. Congratulations on your scalp, enjoy your celebratory bonfire. The adults are mourning the loss of civil society.

        • posted by Carl on

          or the action that a legislative solution to Citizens’ United is now completely and utterly off the table.

          Do you really think there was any chance of that happening, with the gridlock in our current Congress (and in most state legislatures)?

          That won’t be affected by instances like these.

    • posted by RolyPoly on

      No, it pretty much means that you do hate gay people, and consider them second class citizens. You might not be actively trying to enshrine those beliefs into law, like Mr. Eich was, but don’t attempt to conceal your contempt.

    • posted by Paul on

      The problem I have with your opinion, Joe, is that you (and many others) used the force of LAW to deprive me of getting married. No one is doing that to Eich. It’s not equivalent.
      Look, you can have your view on marriage PROVIDED that it has no political or legal weight to prevent me from controlling my own life. Your opinion is fine AS LONG AS it has no power to compel me. I’ll believe you when you say you don’t hate gay people if you can agree with this. If not, it’s just hate masquerading as something else.

      • posted by Snarky McSnarkSnark on

        The problem I have with your opinion, Joe, is that you (and many others) used the force of LAW to deprive me of getting married. – See more at:

        And you, on the other hand, are advocating depriving a man of his livlihood because of his moral / political beliefs. Mr. Eich is no oppressing anyone. He is not a member of a terrorist organization. He donated money, eight years ago, to a political organization that–in its time–had the concurrence of a majority of California voters.

        This is triumphalism of the ugliest kind. If liberals wonder why liberalism has lost the political center since the 70s, this incident can be instructive as an explanation why.

        • posted by Strepsi on

          What nonsense Snarky McSnarksnark — the article’s premise, that being anti-gay is being “silenced” into a “closet” is also nonsense.

          Dozens — possibly hundreds — of executives to this day have lost their jobs for expressing their personal free speech that black people are less than white people. Smart executives may hold that belief sincerely or religiously, but they realize expressing it has consequences. Even Archie Bunker learned that back in 1978.

          This “closet” false equivalence is even more galling because some executives had to change jobs (because their views are appalling to their mostly STRAIGHT employee base by the way). Meanwhile, they attempt to actually strip our civil rights by legislation. There is no equivalence.

          Our jobs too, as well as our kinship, children, and even physical well-being are harmed every day by bigots. Like just THIS WEEK a man was convicted of attempting to burn to death a couple and their children, and a mother killed her 4 year old(!) for being gay.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      One wonders what kind of logical twisting is necessary to convince one’s self that believing gay people should be entitled to equal marriage rights under the law does not mean you hate them. I suppose people didn’t hate black people but just didn’t want to eat in the same restaurant as them. While others didn’t have anything against women but didn’t believe they should have the right to vote. It’s utter nonsense and while you are free to believe nonsense (plenty of people believe nonsense of virtually every kind imaginable) I am under no obligation to believe that it’s anything other than animus to maintain a lesser legal status for gay couples than straight ones.

  5. posted by When Gays Enforce A Closet | The Penn Ave Post on

    […] at 1:46 on April 7, 2014 by Andrew Sullivan A fresh perspective on the Eich affair from David Link. My latest take here. […]

  6. posted by Adam on

    If this new closet comes along with the stricture that it’s not OK to take action to destroy the civil rights of your fellow citizens, I’m pretty much OK with that.

    This article, and the execrable one posted before it, have completely taken on the right’s victimized framing: that gay marriage opponents are now being fired for their beliefs. No one cares what Eich’s beliefs were, they just wanted an apology for harm caused. The farthest Eich could go was saying that he was sorry for pain he caused, but then when asked if he’d donate again, he said he wanted to keep his views private, and that he “wouldn’t answer hypotheticals.” What a resounding apology, huh?

    The two developers who started this have posted here (, saying all they wanted was a statement, and for things to move on. I think that’s what most people wanted. No one I’ve spoken to thinks he should have been fired, especially when he could have so easily dealt with the issue by simply saying it was a mistake to donate to Prop 8. People aren’t really seeking the silencing or “opinion policing” of those who oppose LGBT equality. We are only seeking the acknowledgment that their money isn’t going to end up in a campaign to destroy our rights.

    • posted by wickedzeus on

      “People aren’t really seeking the silencing or “opinion policing” of those who oppose LGBT equality. We are only seeking the acknowledgment that their money isn’t going to end up in a campaign to destroy our rights”

      Is this about the $1000 dollars? Or is this about taking ANY action in favor of the prop 8 campaign? What if instead of donating he went to a rally supporting prop 8 as a private citizen? Would he have to apologize for that as well? Why shouldn’t he be able to keep his views private? What if he didn’t feel like he should apologize for a personal decision, do you think he should have lied?

      • posted by Adam on

        It’s both about the $1,000 dollars, but more of the fact that he all but said he’d do it again. His “views” stopped being both private and merely “views” when he funded a drive to destroy my fundamental rights.

        A majority of people voted for Prop 8, but it seems that many of them have changed their mind, or didn’t realize what Prop 8 would do. I don’t begrudge them at all.

        I disagree vehemently with people who oppose gay rights, but if they just have opinion, it doesn’t hurt anyone. But if they act to take away my rights, and then think it’s some sort of oppression for me to call them on it, they can pound sand. I’m not going to give them a pass, especially not when US states keep passing laws allowing businesses to discriminate against me.

        He obviously didn’t feel that the pain he caused was enough to prevent him from causing it again, so he didn’t apologize. Accordingly, he realized he wasn’t going to be able to lead his company, and decided to resign. He made his own value judgment here. That’s the way it goes, I guess.

        • posted by ISOK on

          @Adam Exactly. What protesters attempted to take away from Eich is a really great and well deserved job. He will get another.

          What Eich attempted to take away from millions of his fellow citizens — what he would still do today if he had the choice — is the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO HAPPINESS. There is no replacement for that. The false equivalence here is breathtaking.

          What’s more, one can keep his / her political beliefs to him / herself. One can even change them. One can even pretend to change them. Or say that they are trying to see the other side. NONE OF THIS IS POSSIBLE FOR GAYS. Sometimes when there appears to be a double standard it’s actually because the two sides require, um, different standards. We are now equating the gay closet with the anti gay marriage closet? WTF???


      • posted by Houndentenor on

        It is his right to keep his views silent. We all have views and opinions that we refrain from sharing. Donations, on the other hand, are a matter of public record and are therefore not private.

      • posted by JohnInCA on

        “Why shouldn’t he be able to keep his views private?”

        Well, because he made a public donation. That’s kinda opting out of the “keep his view private” card.

    • posted by Hobknobbed on

      “No one cares what Eich’s beliefs were, they just wanted an apology for harm caused.”

      Then why wasn’t his apology enough to save him?: (

      “I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. I can only ask for your support to have the time to “show, not tell”; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.”

      • posted by Adam on

        Which he then followed up with:

        “CNET: If you had the opportunity to donate to a Proposition 8 cause today, would you do so?
        Eich: I hadn’t thought about that. It seems that’s a dead issue. I don’t want to answer hypotheticals. Separating personal beliefs here is the real key here.”

        This is possibly a worse answer than “yes.”

        Also, complying with state anti-discrimination laws and pledging to “listen” doesn’t merit a pat on the back.

        • posted by Hobknobbed on

          From earlier in that same interview:

          “without getting into my personal beliefs, which I separate from my Mozilla work — when people learned of the donation, they felt pain. I saw that in friends’ eyes, [friends] who are LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered]. I saw that in 2012. I am sorry for causing that pain.”

          I don’t think that employment should have a political purity test, and Eich was more than qualified for the position. The company wasn’t going to change, but that wasn’t enough – the person at the top had to have the right opinions on issues barely related to his company if he was to lead.

          • posted by JohnInCA on

            I think you don’t understand the difference between a typical run-of-the-mill employee (which Eich was for years without problem) and being a CEO.

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        That’s your idea of an apology?

  7. posted by Lori Heine on

    Julie and Joe illustrate the conservative mindset quite clearly.

    People have individual moral agency only when (A) they are liberal gays and (B) it suits conservatives to acknowledge it. Thus did those who chose to protest Eich’s position as CEO have the responsibility to control the choice they made — while the vast majority of LGBT people were somehow mystically responsible, en masse, for not having transformed the opinions or behavior of those protesting.

    Thus is marriage for a man and woman a holy cause, the linchpin holding Judeo-Christian morality together, but “Thou Shalt Not Steal” can be deconstructed ’til Doomsday. There is nothing morally wrong, in anti-gay conservatives’ minds, with rigging the tax code to steal from singles, gay or straight, and keeping gays in committed unions from ever protecting their lives or building solid homes.

    Also, there is the fantasyland view of corporate employment that sees it as quite appropriate for employees to exist as little more than serfs, while the mighty lord of the manor reserves full right to even having an opinion — as well as expressing it.

    It is always very instructive when conservatives comment.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      I’m torn. Should I respond to that with “oh, snap” or a more high-brow “Brava, Diva!” Either way it was quite enjoyable for me to see your wit, intelligence and vocabulary aimed in someone else’s direction for a change. I couldn’t agree more. For some reason some are trying to tell us that Mr Eich’s “speech” of $1000 is to be respected while my criticism of his donation is not. And then that I should be impressed by his non-apology apology? Hells to the no.

  8. posted by BethanyAnne on

    “Andrew Sullivan helpfully cites…” “…which doesn’t apply to him”. Nice handwaving. 8/10, would watch again.

  9. posted by Gerry on

    I couldn’t state it better than Ari over at Towleroad who deftly dismantles this nonsense:

  10. posted by David M on

    I have yet to hear a cogent argument from Link or Sullivan regarding how Eich is substantively different from someone who acted against the right of people to marry interracially. Would they similarly defend such a person? If not, then what makes Eich different?

    • posted by minimalist on

      Exactly. All the moral indignation about “witch hunts” and “Inquisitions” ignore the fact that nobody would dare say the same thing had Eich given money to strip interracial couples, women or black people of their civil rights. Had he done so he would have been asked to step down by the board and it would have been dismissed as business as usual in the corporate world. But because its just us gay people out comes the “thought police” rhetoric.

      The real story here isn’t that private actions can have career consequences (is this really such a new concept to people?) It’s that somehow, in the mind of those screaming about “free speech” the civil rights of gay couples are less important than those of interracial couples, black people or women.

    • posted by Doug on

      Would we even be having this discussion if Eich were an avowed racists and belonged to the KKK and was elevated to CEO of Mozilla? I seriously doubt it.

  11. posted by ISOK on

    Can someone please explain the principle here? I’m not being cynical — I simply do not understand.

    Are protests only desirable to the extent that they would not result in any employment consequences for the targeted? Or perhaps it’s that someone’s job is always off limits?

    For instance…

    Is it ok for someone to say in a public forum that he/she wishes Rush Limbaugh would be so toxic to advertisers that he gets taken off the air? Is it ok to simply not listen to him?

    Was it ok for Trent Lott to be deposed after voicing nostalgia for Jim Crow? Is it ok to simply not vote for him?

    Is it ok to boycott Duck Dynasty? Is it ok to boycott anything for any political reason whatsoever? Wouldn’t that result in the loss of employment?

    What is the principle here? And why is it desirable?

    Put another way — what would have been the “right” way to express displeasure at the hire?


    • posted by Jzero on

      The principle is that if someone is fired (or otherwise intimidated into silence) simply for having anti-gay opinions, that is no better than being fired (or otherwise intimidated into silence) for having PRO-gay opinions. If it is an unreasonable suppression of one’s rights of speech to be fired for being openly gay or pro-gay, how can one approve of it if the firing comes around for having the opposing opinion, other than simply liking it because it’s happening to your opponents, and not you and your side?

      In other words, is it justified because its “the other guys”, and is that all that justifies it, and what makes it unacceptable if it happens to you?

      • posted by ISOK on

        Hey Jzero, thanks for responding. I understand that is the surface of the argument. But I’m wondering where the underlying principle ends up. Only protest so much as to not affect another’s employment? Only protest if you know your side will lose / not result in any actions?

        Are politically motivated boycotts acceptable?

        What rule would you take away from this episode that you could apply to other situations?


        • posted by Hobknobbed on

          The rule I would take away is don’t hound someone who has never made a big deal in public about their views, has apologized for the pain he caused, and begged for another chance. It’s unseemly, it’s mean-spirited, and one would hope that the winning side on a contentious social issue like this would be magnanimous in its (growing) victory.

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        Except that he was not fired. He resigned and presumably resumed his previous duties with the company. He is no worse off than he was a month ago except of course being well known as an anti-gay bigot now (which is his own doing if you ask me). The lesson it seems is that one ought to vet potential executives more carefully. I can’t bring myself to feel sorry for Mr Eich. He did exactly what he was accused of, can’t even bother pretending he’s sorry, and even after all this is in an enviable position in the company drawing an income that is obviously sufficient to make $1000 donations to causes.

  12. posted by Greg VA on

    If Eich’s resignation was wrong and people who called for it were being intolerant, are there any political contributions that would be unacceptable? Donations to the Klan? To the Westboro Baptist Church?

    If there are donations that are unacceptable, where is the line and who gets to decide what it is?

  13. posted by Strepsi on

    @ JOE: If you believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, that is your right and belief. Live and let live. If you donate to create new big-government legislation that would overturn and ban existing, legal civil marriages between gay couples – as Prop 8 did – that is naked bigotry. To the young (and progressive software and open-source) communities, Prop 8 is as offensive to civil rights as finding yoru CEO attempted to ban interracial marriage.

    I also believe that there must have been other internal issues at play. As Julie above said, it’s a nominal sum, but she doesn’t get that it represents a terrible position — that Eich neither backed down from nor apologized for. For the vast majority of his stakeholders, It is wrong, and Eich handled it very poorly. He was out of synch with his own employees, and own core constituents — he could not lead them. This may represent an even deeper schism within Mozilla we do not know about.

  14. posted by anon on

    What is the rule we are to apply to every CEO in the land? How can we apply it consistently? Sitting in judgment of the whole world is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Help me out here.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      We don’t have to apply anything to anyone. Corporations have Boards of Directors, charged with sitting in judgment on CEO’s.

  15. posted by tom on

    Advocating for economic boycotts against those who financially support laws that are depriving or would deprive others of their civil rights has long been a legitimate tool used by civil rights advocates. African Americans and their supporters used it extensively through out the South in the 1950s and 1960s. Eich was willing to use the financial resources he gained through his business to support laws that deprive others of their civil rights, and he did it many times. I am willing to refuse to do business with the company he runs and to encourage others to do the same in order to reduce the resources he otherwise might have to use against me. Now which of us exactly is the less tolerant?

  16. posted by Mike in Houston on

    So while some of the newer contributors to the commenting section are going full on about the alleged crusade against Eich… can I ask Julie, Jzero, Joe, Snarky McSnark care to weigh in on World Vision?

    I mean, not only was their Board of Directors hounded into changing their policy back to an anti-gay one, FRC, AFA, NOM and company have called for all the directors (and CEO) to be removed for having the temerity to try and implement a policy that recognized legal, civil marriages.

    Or is this another case of — as Joe Jervis continually points out —

    “When major national Christian groups with millions of followers call for boycotts, that is a righteous use of the free market in order to preserve morality, marriage, family, and the American way. But if a gay keyboard activist tweets a call for a boycott, THAT is homofascist intimidation, intolerance, bullying, a stifling of religious liberty, and an attempt to deny the freedom of speech. And don’t you forget it.”

  17. posted by Yeek on

    What David Link and Andrew Sullivan keep leaving out is the name of the man who started the entire debate about Eich: Hamilton Catlin. This man developed apps for the Mozilla platform, and he rather poignantly describes how he and his husband (a British national) were unable to marry and unable to get a green card precisely because Prop 8 passed. Once Eich was appointed, he announced that he would no longer contribute to Mozilla’s development.

    This single story undercuts the principle assumptions about Eich – that his private actions never impacted the people who worked for his company, and that he was a great choice for Mozilla. Sullivan and Davis don’t mention this story because it drags their abstract indignation into the realm of the concrete, a binational gay couple who suffered because of what he did. As the saying goes, the law often allows what honor forbids. That cuts both ways in this case.

    • posted by biomuse on

      Sullivan himself was in a similar position with his own citizenship and relationships, including that with his now husband, for years.

      It strikes me that what Sullivan is asking of marriage equality supporters is not something without consequence or value. That’s why he uses terms like “mercy,” “forgiveness,” “magnanimity.” It’s plain that he understands the arguments for why Eich should have been removed. He is asking for more – for a higher level of tolerance from gay rights supporters than that which they were offered in the past.

      Whatever else one may think of that, it’s quite extraordinary – Agambenesque, Girardian in its belief that bucking the rules of a zero-sum power game can create a better world ex nihilo.

      • posted by Yeek on

        Yeah, I see what you mean. I’d just add that mercy and forgiveness usually must be requested before they are granted. Perhaps part of the problem is that Eich’s “I feel bad” factor just seemed a bit glib. On the pro side, Eich promised to uphold and support existing company policy against discrimination (wow), and wanted to “express my sorrow at having caused pain.” On the con side, he said he ‘hadn’t thought about that’ if he would vote for the same measure again which was a TERRIBLE answer. No matter what he said, people very much wanted him to at least be thoughtful. The whole thing seemed a bit like one of those casual damage control “I’m sorry that your feelings were hurt” non-apologies, and I think people gave him the corresponding amount of forgiveness.

      • posted by JohnInCA on

        Mercy is nice to get. But it should never be expected as a matter of course. When that happens, mercy becomes an entitlement. And no one is entitled to mercy.

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        I recently got into an argument with someone about Mary Cheney’s desire to help with the marriage equality fight. Yes, she hasn’t always been there for the community but she might be a great deal of help now in reaching out to those who are conservatives on many issues but not necessarily the social ones. (In other words, people like her father.) There is no point in holding on to grudges when people are now on your side. Eich, however, has not changed his position, so I don’t know how he’s an example of much of anything except someone who is against equal rights for gay people. How is one to trust that such a person will not allow such opinions to spill over into decisions about hiring and promotion? His word? Would we accept such a promise from someone who donated to racist or sexist causes? I am quite sure we would not.

      • posted by PT on

        They’re actually wrong. DOMA would have prevented them getting a Green Card even if there had been no Proposition 8 because Section 3 required the Federal Government Agencies to only treat a male/female marriage as a marriage. Any gay marriage until the middle of 2013 would not have counted.

  18. posted by Yeek on

    Would it be okay to call him a dishonorable scumbag who did a terrible thing?

    • posted by Yeek on

      Okay, that was mean. I apologize.

  19. posted by Doug on

    How about a little silence from the ‘right’?

    Stop passing laws allowing blatant discrimination against the LGBT community.
    Stop equating the LGBT community with animals, murderers and worse.
    Stop the outright lies about LGBT parents.
    Stop protesting at military funerals.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      It is laughable to imagine the right being silenced. They have entire cable channels with nothing but their views and half the radio is full of their invective? Silenced? That is the loudest silence ever.

  20. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    I will not reiterate my views on the matter, which are more than adequately stated in the previous thread, but I do have a question for the folks who are in an uproar about the situation.

    What is it, exactly, that you think is an appropriate remedy to the problem?

    Five questions to illustrate the broader question:

    (1) Mozilla employees and unpaid volunteers work in a culture that encourages employees to speak out about company issues, including the actions of the Board of Directors and company officers. Many employees and unpaid volunteers weighed in on Eich’s appointment, and quite a number called for him to resign. Would you have Mozilla change its corporate culture so that the internal debate among employees, including specifically the internal voices calling for Eich’s ouster, would have been suppressed? Many companies impose a “do not criticize managment if you want to keep your job” culture. Is that what you support?

    (2) A significant number of companies have policies in place that require job-related reasons for dismissal. Many others do not. A handful of states have laws that protect employees by requiring that companies have job-related reasons for dismissal; most do not. As a general rule, conservatives have fought hard against enacting laws that impede a company’s ability to fire at will. Do you support laws that require a company dismiss an employee only for cause, or do you oppose them? If you oppose laws protecting employees from at-will dismissal, then how would you propose to protect employees from being dismissed because of matters unrelated to job performance?

    (3) The calls for Eich’s dismissal coming from outside Mozilla came primarly from two organizations (CREDO and OKCupid) peripherally involved, if at all, in the struggle for equality. No major LGBT organization (HRC, the various state organizations, and so on) was involved at all. I can see the logic of calling out an LGBT organization like HRC if it were involved (which it was not), but how would you propose that gays and lesbians police organizations which are not LGBT-related organizations?

    (4) As I understand it, OKCupid is the only organzation of any significance that called for a boycott because of Eich’s appointment. As a result of Eich’s resignation, NOM, and other conservative groups and individuals on the right have called for a counter-boycott. Do you support boycotts in either circumstance? Do you support boycotts in any circumstance? If so, why, and what is the difference between boycotts you support and boycotts you don’t support?

    (5) A large number of individuals, gay/lesbian and straight alike, outside Mozilla weighed in on the fracus, calling for Eich’s ouster and/or a Mozilla boycott. Do you propose to police such speech and/or action, and if so, how?

    My questions are not necessarily hostile. I did not join in the fracus. If I were on Mozilla’s Board of Directors, I would have voted against Eich’s appointment for business reasons unrelated to his views on marriage equality, but I would have encouraged him to resign in light of the way he handled the situation after it became an issue. I strongly believe that employees should be protected against at-will dismissal, and I support company policies, union contracts and laws that restrict companies from firing except for cause or reasons that are clearly business-related.

    But I cannot, for the life of me, think of a remedy in this case that is not worse than the disease. If any of you who are critical of those who called for Eich’s ouster/resignation can think of a remedy or remedies that isn’t worse than the disease, I’d like to learn about it.

    • posted by Lori Heine on

      An excellent presentation of the facts.

      After the 2012 elections, I really believed the Right would become more libertarian. I was very much mistaken. Conservatives are, for the most part, too authoritarian to trust in (other people’s) liberty.

      I thought progressives no longer cared about liberty, and I was wrong about that, too.

      The opinions I hear expressed in IGF commentary threads are pretty much like those I hear in conversations. The fact that we’re talking about liberty is good news in itself — even if the Right has decided it’s going to do nothing more than craft a meme to try and fool people into believing it cares about liberty.

      They were for at-will firings in the private sector — until they were against it. They were for the reform of the civil courts to discourage frivolous lawsuits — until they got the chance to kick LGBT’s in the face, yet again, with laws like Arizona SB1062 instead. They were for marriage — until they were against it. They were opposed to government redistribution of the wealth via the tax code — until they saw how they could benefit from it.

      I’m not surprised the LGBT activist organizations stayed silent during the Mozilla controversy. They know the social Right well enough to know that the “poor us, we’re so persecuted” meme was being crafted. They are too smart to play into the soc con’s hands.

      Oh, and conservatives were opposed to identity politics and the politics of victimization, remember? Whatever happened to that?

      Abject hypocrites, the lot of them.

      • posted by Houndentenor on


      • posted by Jorge on

        Oh, and conservatives were opposed to identity politics and the politics of victimization, remember? Whatever happened to that?

        The only way this story is not an example of identity politics and the politics of victimization run amok is if it wasn’t about the gay thing in the first place.

  21. posted by Jorge on

    Californians in particular should take heed. Andrew Sullivan helpfully cites our Labor Code section 1102, which explicitly prohibits discriminating against employees based on their political beliefs and actions. But that’s just the start.


    Oh, um, I mean, can I say I called the question?

    Eich, of course, is not an employee, so this doesn’t apply to him in particular. But it is very clear that if he had not publicly supported Prop. 8 so many years ago, he would be CEO of Mozilla today. And he is not alone in his beliefs.

    Yes, I had a feeling I would get that answer. I’ll concede that it is acceptable to me.

    Who am I to disagree with this post? My own fate depends on it.

  22. posted by Jorge on

    I will not reiterate my views on the matter, which are more than adequately stated in the previous thread, but I do have a question for the folks who are in an uproar about the situation.

    What is it, exactly, that you think is an appropriate remedy to the problem?

    I think I’d like to use this opportunity to defer to Andrew Sullivan. I find myself impressed by his article. In fact, I cannot think of a better answer than for gays to express their hostility toward the whole affair.

    I reject the need to micromanage the remedy. Let us take the long view instead. This happened because a cultural force or micro-force thought it was okay to say “You are not qualified to work because you supported Propostion 8.” It is a disturbing idea, and I think Mr. Sullivan expresses quite well that attempts to micro-analyse the particulars of the situation get around the point. It is a disturbing idea that needs to be discouraged and for people to be told it is wrong. People should care enough to make a difference in their own limited spheres, to counter those who made another difference in another limited sphere. The belief in “Yes, you can” is a positive force for change and justice. The best will win out.

    We can avoid the trap of making the perfect the enemy of the good. There is no need for success to be defined by any one outcome–Mr. Eich gets to keep his job. By accepting the possibility of defeat, one has the possibility to record, and preserves one’s intergrity a little better. It could very well be that the problem with the culture in and around Mozilla is so severe, the changes that will be needed in order to rectify it will be intense and take considerable time, time and effort that will not be possible with Mr. Eich as CEO. Mozilla itself will probably have to be abandoned as a battleground or a site of reform.

    I appreciate that you are looking for a more concrete answer, Tom. For now I’ll stick to my view that human rights laws should be enforced or enacted to protect against political discrimination in employment. If this defense holds, much that is worrisome will never happen.

    By the way, this idea that people are playing right into the religious right’s talking points. Okay, yeah, so what? We can play into them, against them, sideways, forwards, backwards, any way we choose any time we choose, or we can just dump them. There is no need to relinquish all control to our political opponents on what we shall do, and when. There is an important part of building the well-being of the GLBT community that will require us to ignore our political opponents, because it will require an element of creation. We define our own brand.

    • posted by Jorge on

      By accepting the possibility of defeat, one has the possibility to record

      Should read, “one has the possibility to recover

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        This happened because a cultural force or micro-force thought it was okay to say “You are not qualified to work because you supported Propostion 8.” It is a disturbing idea …

        It is a disturbing idea, but I would gently point out three things, as I did in the previous thread:

        (1) The Mozilla fracus has little or nothing to do with employee hiring/firing. A CEO is not, in any material sense, a normal employee. A CEO reports and is answerable only to the Board of Directors, sets and executes company policies and direction, is responsible for hiring and firing, and is the public face of the company.

        (2) Mozilla is a company that purports to have ideals and purposes that go beyond profit-making (of which a gay-friendly working environment is one), ideals that have attracted thousands of unpaid volunteers. Mozilla is, among business organizations, unique in many other respects (consider its corporate culture encouraging vigorous and public criticism of management), and competes for employees in a marketplace where any perceived (whether real or not) hostility to equal treatment of gays and lesbians is a significant disincentive.

        (3) I am aware of no evidence of a witch hunt extending beyond Mozilla’s unique situation, and, in particular, extending to employees of any company.

        We can play into them, against them, sideways, forwards, backwards, any way we choose any time we choose, or we can just dump them. There is no need to relinquish all control to our political opponents on what we shall do, and when. There is an important part of building the well-being of the GLBT community that will require us to ignore our political opponents, because it will require an element of creation. We define our own brand.

        I agree. I spend a lot of time working in an unrelated group that holds “To Thine Own Self Be True” as a first principle, and I think that principle applies to gays and lesbians, individually and collectively, too.

        Gays and lesbians have made our gains swimming upstream against conventional wisdom, public hostility and/or indifference, and political cowardice (from the left) and opposition (from the right). We’ve been denounced as child abusers, perverts, pedophiles, destroyers of marriage and moral values, dangers to our own children, haters of God, and unAmerican. We’ve been jailed, fired, ejected from polite society, despised and ridiculed. We’ve been cannon fodder for politicans, and subjected to a spate of state constitutional amendments denying us basic equality under the law. Despite it all, we never gave up, we kept fighting, we moved this country toward “equal means equal”, and we are at a point where we can — finally — see light at the end of the tunnel.

        Ours has always been a ground-up, pushy, disorganized and messy “movement” driven by individuals who stand up for themselves according to their own lights, and it will always (I hope, anyway) be so. I fight with the social conservatives, but I despise the “church ladies” in our own ranks who keep telling us that we should behave and how we should behave.

      • posted by Jorge on

        No objection to any of your points, but I am on guard.

        I’m afraid I think defense is the best answer here.

        Ours has always been a ground-up, pushy, disorganized and messy “movement” driven by individuals who stand up for themselves according to their own lights, and it will always (I hope, anyway) be so. I fight with the social conservatives, but I despise the “church ladies” in our own ranks who keep telling us that we should behave and how we should behave.

        When you say the social conservatives, do you mean social conservatives in general or the social conservatives among GLBT people? And when you say “church ladies” in our own ranks, are you talking about the drive-bys on the left or the hand-wringers on the right?

        And when you say pushy and disorganized movement driven by individuals, the image that comes to my mind is a messy consensus between warring factions–well it’s the image I look for. Many times the individuals who stand up are the same as those who tell others that they should behave and how to behave–at least in the movie about him, Harvey Milk is credited with the idea that gays should come out, he doesn’t want to hear you complaining or part of his campaign if you haven’t. It is not the only type of leadership, but it is a perfectly legitimate type.

        Look, I don’t have any problem with people who want to live their lives like idiots. They’re idiots, but they’re entitled to use their freedom to do stupid things.

    • posted by Doug on

      “You are not qualified to work because you supported Propostion 8.” It is a disturbing idea. . . ”

      An how disturbing is “You are not qualified to work because you are gay” That has been the christian right’s position for decades and has been enforced across the board as well.

      Now they are on the receiving end and christian right doesn’t like it. Tough!

      • posted by Jorge on

        Indeed it is tough.

        And because of that, I am not of a mind to approve of it. The cost of you accusing people of hypocrisy whilst abandoning principle is one that is worth paying for several reasons.

  23. posted by Ian Coleman on

    I thought you Yanks might be amused by the situation regarding gay and lesbian rights here in Canada. We have, in Canadian Law, a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that specifically makes it illegal to engage in “hate speech:” against other Canadians on the basis of their sexual orientation. (Race and religion are the other categories protected by the Charter.) This means in effect that if any Canadian were to say in a public forum that he opposes same-sex marriage (now sanctioned by law in Canada) he could be charged with a hate crime under the law. Something like this really has happened. A printer who refused to print pamphlets for a gay rights organization was charged, convicted and fined under the law. Now that’s suppression of the right of political expression. And that’s Canada.

    • posted by Lori Heine on

      It’s good to bear in mind Aesop’s fable about the Boy Who Cried “Wolf.”

      Nobody who cares about liberty will want what’s going on in Canada to happen here. But vigilance against that isn’t going to be very effective if those who put themselves in charge of it make crap up and throw hissy-fits every time they don’t get their way.

      If it ever does really happen, the public may be so desensitized, and so damn tired of the people who clutch their pearls about every imagined slight, that they just let it go.

      It also makes sense to keep a wary eye on the creeping Christianist sharia that seeks to make the non-establishment clause of our Constitution obsolete.

    • posted by Jorge on

      Yes, I believe someone threatened Ann Coulter with the same in response to her accepting a speaking engagement at a university.

      While I am personally disturbed this situation has not caused any social unrest, the fact that it would if it occurred in this country, or even to a travelling American in Canada, is enough for me.

      Well, it wouldn’t happen in this country as a criminal offense for long because of First Amendment case law. This country seems to have accepted the result of the 8-1 US Supreme Court decision in Snyder v. Phelps that threw out a lawsuit against the Westboro Baptist Church for intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from one of their funeral protests. Justice Alito’s lone dissent is worth reading, however. We should consider that there is a well-reasoned, ethical, and intellectual basis for passing and maintaining the kind of laws that Canada has.

      In Canada.

  24. posted by Carl on

    That’s what the closet feels like, to those of us who have been there.

    The closet means you can’t openly be with the person you love without being fired.

    The closet means you have to lie about major aspects of your life every day.

    The closet means that your job, and sometimes your personal safety, are in jeopardy.

    I feel like the people who are so outraged over this are now so busy trying to outdo each other rhetorically (Andrew Sullivan is now calling Brandon Eich a “hero”) that the debate has moved far away from whatever the original point was supposed to be.

    Why does the gay community need to spend so much time proving that they aren’t like those other gays? Why is the gay community so quick to believe the belief that all gay people are just alike and must be condemned, even as they claim they aren’t like the rest?

    Why do I have a feeling that if a gay CEO was forced out by a socially conservative tech company, there would be about a fraction as much of the outrage here?

    • posted by Doug on

      Amen and well said.

    • posted by Daniel on

      Are you kidding? If a gay CEO were pressured into resigning froma tech company by conservatives, we would never hear the end of it. Of course, it would be different people angry, for the most part. Sullivan et al would still be upset, as they disagree with the principle of the thing, but all these far-left liberals would be up in arms.

      Of course, that’s my suspicion, based on the fact that every f*ggot uttered by even a mild celebrity explodes into the news. But playing, “this is what would

      • posted by Daniel on

        *the previous comment was supposed to finish with:

        But playing the “this is what would have happened” counterfactual game is just a way to prove you’re right without the need for pesky facts.

      • posted by Carl on

        Of course, it would be different people angry, for the most part.

        Exactly. There’s far more outrage here over Eich’s departure than I’ve seen toward any homophobic legislation or behavior (some of which goes far beyond someone losing their job) in a very long time. And that bothers me. Why is there so much time to vent about the gay left (even when they have little to do with the situation, as in this case) or trying to check the box of the week about which hypocrisy gay people are now guilty of (or how if only we knew our place, then everything would work out)?

        This has gone from being a debate about how far the workplace should go in dealing with someone who supports anti-gay causes, and has turned into some sort of competition over who can be the most morally righteous. Eich is now compared to those who have to stay in the closet (and who often worry about losing everything, not just moving from one well-paid job to another). Gay people, many of whom had nothing to do with any of this, are compared to “Communists” and to “McCarthy.” And Andrew Sullivan (not at IGF, but extensively quoted here) says Eich is a “hero.”

        Do you really think that Eich’s “closeting” is similar to what gays and lesbians have gone through over the years? Or that IGF is as hyperbolic when supporting gay rights as they are when defending those who oppose gay rights? I’m not sure which part you’re saying I’m wrong about.

        • posted by Carl on

          And I do realize that Sullivan is talking about a statement someone else at Mozilla made regarding Eich (with the “hero” stuff), but even after reading it several times, he has made the man into such a martyr it’s difficult for me to tell whether he also believes that Eich is a hero.

          That is the sense I get here and at Sullivan’s site.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      I’m pretty sure we all know that if a gay CEO were forced out by a socially conservative tech company that there wouldn’t be any fraction of the outrage here.

      Because they would never make a post about it here at IGF.

  25. posted by Yeek on

    “You are not qualified to work because you supported Propostion 8.” I’m not sure that’s what people are saying. I’d summarize more as:

    “You are very qualified to work, but you supported Proposition 8, and we consider that to be unethical. We don’t want to work under a CEO who has something like that.”

    I’m not sure if that’s better or worse, but there it is.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      “Your demonstrated lack of respect for the rights of many of our employees makes you unqualified for this leadership role.”

    • posted by Jorge on


      Either ethics is part of one’s job qualifications or it isn’t. If it isn’t, your point should be considered irrelevant. If it is, it should be considered redundant.

      • posted by JohnInCA on

        The fact that you have to wonder whether ethics is part of one’s job qualifications is a pretty sad sign on the state of American businesses, is it not?

  26. posted by minimalist on

    At what point does this “conversation” we are supposed to be having about our civil rights become off limits? Few sane people would suggest to black employees that they must tolerate and continue “the conversation” with CEO’s about their civil rights? Same with women and religious groups.

    If a CEO had given money to strip interracial couples of their right to marry would anybody even bat an eye when he or she was asked by the board to step down? Would anybody dare claim that the “minority thought police” were out in force in that situation?

  27. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Perhaps because we are just a few days away from Passover, a time when Jews celebrate deliverance from slavery and reflect on the long history of diaspora, or perhaps because Bryan Fischer has gone off yet again on his annual pre-Passover “Nazi’s were homosexuals …” rant as a segway to his “pink is the new brown” trope, I am reminded of what Alan Dershowitz called “soft-core anti-Semitism” — the insistence that Jews be can held to an impossibly high standard of behavior to which non-Jews are not held, simply because Jews are Jews, and every deviation from the imposed standard of perfection is used as evidence that everything the Jews do is wrong, and everything that is wrong is done by the Jews. In the world of soft-core anti-Semitism, ordinary behavioral failures and inconsistencies overlooked in Gentiles, become weapons against Jews.

    I think that the recent spate of posts on IGF, which demand that gays and lesbians be held to an impossibly high standard of “mercy”, “forgiveness” and “magnanimity” — not as an ideal, but as a demand — and any deviation from that imposed perfection, even by a minority among us, is denounced as “triumphalism” and “malevolence”, is soft-core anti-gay bias very much akin to soft-core anti-Semitism.

    For those of you who find our culture’s anti-Semitism too difficult to think about, look at it in another context.

    Think about the character played by Sidney Portier in the 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner“, a man idealistically perfect — a graduate of a top medical school, soon to be off to begin innovative medical initiatives in Africa, who refused to have premarital sex with his fiancée despite her willingness, so perfect in fact that he leaves money in an open container on his future father-in-law’s desk in payment for a long distance phone call. The artistic conceit of the movie was to make Portier so perfect that the only possible objection to the marriage was his race, which set the stage for the movie’s exploration of tolerance toward interracial marriage. In those days before Loving, a period which I am old enough to remember as a young adult, the question of tolerance toward an interracial marriage would not even have come up if Portier had been an ordinary black guy, with ordinary faults — such a marriage would have been unthinkable.

    Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” was a movie, but think further. Think about the impossibly high standards set for African-Americans breaking into sports (Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali) or traditionally “white” jobs during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Any and all instances where African-Americans in those positions fell short of perfection was used as evidence that African-Americans were not up to the task of being treated on an equal footing. It goes on still, as African-Americans break new barriers — the President was elected President of the Harvard Law Review, for God’s sake, and that is used against him as perverse evidence that he is not qualified to be President.

    Or if race is too difficult to think about, then think about women. When I went to law school, less than 10% of my class at the University of Chicago Law School were women, and these women were pioneers, believe me. When they got out into the law firms, male partners watched them like hawks for any deviation from the expected norms of practice, muttering about whether women were up to the demands of practicing law in the large, national law firms. We saw it in 2008, when Hillary Clinton ran for President. If she was tough and unemotional, she was unqualified to be President because she was a bitch, and if she was emotional, she wasn’t tough enough to be President.

    You get the picture, I hope.

    My view is that gays and lesbians are now being held to an impossible standard of behavior, just as Jews, African-Americans and women were (and are) held to an impossibly high standard.

    I’m not surprised, because it is our turn to go through the fire, now what we are approaching equality. But I can’t help but read the recent posts, and a number of the comments, as falling into the pattern — any and all deviation from an imposed standard of perfection is used as evidence that everything the gays and lesbians do is wrong, and everything that is wrong is done by the gays and lesbians.

    Stephen, in the previous thread, added a new complaint last night about gays and lesbians — “And it’s another day, and so — you got it — another scalp..

    The link is to an American Conservative rant by Ron Dreher about someone named Chauncey Childs, who is “planning to open a premium food store, a place where she can sell locally-raised and grown fresh meat and vegetables, including the non-GMO food she grows on her farm“.

    Childs is vocally anti-equality, and the store is being opened in a “progressive” neighborhood, with predictable results — a number of gays and lesbians are urging a boycott.

    Dreher, along the way to comparing the boycott to “Portlandia Sharia”, has this to say:

    From what I’ve read about Chauncy Childs, it sounds like she was, and is, obnoxious on the subject of same-sex marriage. She doesn’t sound like the kind of person I would want to socialize with. But if I lived in Portland, I would make a point to go shop at her store, just to take a stand against this rotten movement to investigate the personal lives and beliefs of people and ruin their livelihoods if they don’t measure up. Besides, I believe that we can’t have enough places to buy organic farm-raised meat, vegetable, and dairy. Chauncy Childs, whatever her sins and failings, has apparently invested a lot of money in opening that kind of place, a food store that the neighbors were looking forward to until somebody went online and discovered her thoughtcrime. Do you think Chauncy Childs’s mind is going to be opened to gay rights after this? Do you think this kind of thing builds community, or makes it more possible for we who live in a pluralistic community to get along better with each other, despite our differences?

    No call for impossible standards of perfection in this article, no indeed. No double standard in this case, no indeed.

    We’ve reached the point where gays and lesbians aren’t even permitted to make choices about which businesses we patronize or don’t without it being used as evidence that we are akin to the Taliban.

    So much for Stephen’s devotion to the free market.

    • posted by Carl on

      Bravo. And it again shows the ridiculously high standards and the fantasies of many. Oh, of course, if gay people 100% support this store and give her all kinds of money, then she’ll love them forever! Well, no. She’ll love their money. If she’s willing to go into a very gay-friendly neighborhood for business reasons, and is still extremely anti-gay in her personal life, then that means gay people aren’t bogeymen to her. She knows who and what they are. She wants their cash. And she will still see them as second class citizens.

      And that’s her choice. It’s her choice to take a risk on opening a store there when some will boycott her. Yet gay people don’t get a choice. They are belittled if they don’t go in there and hand over the entire content of their wallets. If they don’t pay up, then they are “scalping” her.

      You really have to wonder how much higher the expectations will get. I would imagine that if 99.999999% of the gay people in that area went to the store and bought out the contents every month, the .000001% who don’t would get all the focus here and elsewhere, and we’d hear about how they are all Communists and they are oppressing her.

  28. posted by Jim Michaud on

    I’m starting to get frustrated with this whole thing. I realize since the soc cons are losing in court after court, they have to cling to any culture war flare up that comes down the pike. And they’re coming fast and furious now: Chick-fil-A, JCPenney, Duckhunter, the current Mozilla scandal du jour, the new re-flare up of Chick-fil-A (toning down the politics to score big in urban areas outside the South). Have I missed any fracas? I’ll need a scorecard to keep up.

  29. posted by Lori Heine on

    To understand the latest reaction from the political Right, it’s helpful to understand mass psychology. A lot of what people think of as “conspiracy” is actually simply the way human beings tend to behave together in large groups. These patterns of behavior recur through human history.

    At Easter, Christians will hear again about how “the Jews” clamored for Jesus’s death. But the mob didn’t do that because they were Jews; they did it because they were human beings. A lot of just plain human behavior — common to us all — gets unjustly projected onto a particular group, and they are demonized. This was unjustly done to the Jews for centuries.

    Likewise, if we simply dismiss what happened in Nazi Germany as something “the Germans” did, we miss the point. They did what they did because within human beings lies the seed of irrationality and potential evil. We all must be on guard against it, because we’re all capable of it.

    When gay conservative friends tell me, with great confidence, that “the Gay Left” is now persecuting Christians, I ask them a few questions. One of which is, “exactly WHO — on the Gay Left — is saying and doing these things?” Nine times out of ten, they turn their anger on me, because they can’t answer. Their strings are being jerked by those who want them to think this, and they don’t even bother thinking (they let the string-jerkers do that for them). Instead, like little children, they feel, feel, feel.

    Tom has aptly pointed out that the Gay Left, per se, has avoided getting involved in the Mozilla mess. I believe they stayed out on purpose, because they recognized what the social Right is trying to do. It isn’t too hard to figure out (these people are pretty predictable and transparent), so it doesn’t require a political genius to spot it.

    Now, all the usual suspects — at IGF, on Gay Patriot, at the Gay Conservative blog and elsewhere — are dutifully dancing on their strings to the tune of “The Evil Gay Left Claims Another Scalp.” This commentary thread will likely be ignored by the bloggers, whose frequent citations of what they find here is proof that they do read our comments. We’re simply making too much sense, and we’re showing how hollow the latest meme is.

  30. posted by Brendan Eich of Mozilla Steps Down | on

    […] Independent Gay Forum: Silence Isn’t Golden […]

  31. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    I could not help but notice two headlines appearing side-by-side on Bing News this afternoon: “LGBT Ugandans In Hiding, Suicidal Following ‘Jail the Gays’ Law” in the Advocate, and “PAYBACK TIME: LGBT REVENGE THUGS ON THE PROWL” on Fox News.

    Given the role played by American anti-equality activists in exporting “moral values” to Uganda, the juxtaposition was telling.

  32. posted by Tom Jefferson III on

    1. Some state civil rights code include “political belief”, some just deal with religious belief and others probably deal with both, but the issue is largely untested. I can agree that its worth having a conversation about adding such a class to the civil right code, but conservatives who complain out some — real or imaginary — plot to mistreat conservative celebrities or conservative CEO, etc. rarely come up with any sort of practical solution. They don’t want to have a serious conversation about expanding the scope of civil rights laws (and rarely show much consistency) because that might detract from their money making message (to borrow from Animal Farm); BAH! two legs bad, four legs good.

    2. How many people here are terribly upset about the political discrimination directed at people or classes or people that you disagree with? For example, Independent and third party candidates — for example — face quite a few legal hurdles just to get on the ballot. Oftentimes the hurdles go far beyond what is reasonable. However, I don’t see too many people upset of “political belief discrimination”, loosing to much sleep over the legal hurdles facing the Green or Libertarian Party.

    If the art, beauty and fashion industry decided NOT to serve paying customers who did not believe in marriage equality, do we really expect the bulk of conservatives to defend the ‘liberty’ of the industry leaders?

    If the accusations against the I.R.S. — true or false — in terms of Tea Party groups was — instead mostly about say, Move On or 99% groups, I suspect most of the people outraged at this type of political belief discrimination, would suddenly get get rather quiet.

    Heck, their is not much interest from social conservatives in say the right of Russians to support a pro-gay rights belief or the rights of people in certain African nations to do likewise.

    So to sum it up; having a serious, non-partisan conversation about political belief-based discrimination is worth having. I can see that situations exist where the law should address. But, I do not see the bulk of the recent critics of such discrimination really wanting to have that chat.

  33. posted by When Gays Enforce A Closet | Konfeksiyon Tekstil on

    […] fresh perspective on the Eich affair from David Link. My latest take […]

  34. posted by Jimmy on

    I’m a bit late to this thread, but I wanted to make a point about brand, and how it is the job of a corporate board to protect the brand of the company, in this case, Mozilla. As CEO, one is not just a corporate officer, but the public face of the company (unlike a mid-level or area manager). One can’t really expect to operate in a vacuum as CEO or expect that past decisions (especially decisions on polarizing social issues) won’t show up and affect the present. Not every company is the same, but the decisions made by company leaders that can damage the brand, or set up a scenario where brand can be hurt, must be rectified.

  35. posted by Tom Jefferson III on


    Some people here talk about job discrimination is no longer a serious problem for gay people. To be sure it is not as bad of a problem — although if some of these “some people” had a better sense of what life is like outside of their little bubble, they might have wee bit more credibility when they talk about the c-word.

    Heck, even if the staetwide civil rights code is good, it might not actually apply throughout the state. For example, Minnesota has sexual orientation in its civil right code — since 1993 — but once you leave the liberal leaning districts, the enforcement of the code can get a bit iffy (to be polite about it).

    We just got a decent anti-bullying bill passed in Minnesota and — again — once you get away from the liberal districts, the message (repeated time and time again) is that “our” school doesn’t have gay kids. Don’t has a problem with bullying and doesn’t want to talk about it.

    In Minnesota, one of the main reasons the statewide anti-bullying got passed — was perhaps one of the largest school districts in the state was so incredibly bad/inept at handling the issue of verbal/physical harassment, it became hard to ignore the problem. (and it was starting to get noticed in the national press, which made the entire state look bad)

    However, their are still quite a few states without job protection and where it is pretty much assumed such a bill has zero chance of getting passed (much less marriage equality or even a decent anti-bullying bill).

    Again, I am certainly open to have a conversation about dealing with political belief based discrimination through the civil right code. Assuming people are serious about wanting to have the conversation and are going to be — at least — civil and consistent, as opposed to loud and partisan.

Comments are closed.