NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Users of the New York-based dating site OKCupid were greeted with a protest message Tuesday, if they used Firefox to get to the site.
The website asked users not to use the browser to access OKCupid, in reaction to prior support of the new chief executive officer of Firefox maker Mozilla of the legislation that banned same-sex marriage in California.
Brendan Eich was prompted to CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based nonprofit Mozilla last week. In 2008, Eich donated $1,000 to the campaign to pass Proposition 8, a 2008 constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriages in California until the U.S. Supreme Court left in place a lower-court ruling striking it down.
The contribution was publicly reported in 2012 and drew some negative attention at the time, when Eich was Mozilla’s chief technology officer. But when he was promoted to CEO, his support of the ban took on more gravitas.
On Tuesday, OKCupid joined the protest. The site allowed users to continue on to OKCupid using Firefox if they so desired, but not before being confronted by the following message:
“Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.
Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.
Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.
If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.
However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid.”
The page had buttons sending users to the download pages for other browsers – Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Earlier in the day, the button for Internet Explorer had read “Internet Exploder.”
OkCupid President Christian Rudder said he and the firm’s three other co-founders decided to post the message after discussing Eich’s appointment over the weekend.
He said 12 percent of OkCupid’s approximately 3 billion monthly page views come through Firefox, while 8 percent of the site’s users are gay or lesbian.
“We don’t think this was the right thing for people to donate money to, and this is someone we do business with so we decided to take action,” Rudder said.
Mozilla, which is promoted with the slogan, “Doing good is part of our code,” responded Monday with an emailed statement saying the company supports equality for all, including marriage equality for gay couples.
“No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally,” said the statement. “OkCupid never reached out to us to let us know of their intentions, nor to confirm facts.”
Following Eich’s appointment as CEO, three Mozilla board members resigned and several others tweeted their desire to see Eich step down over his stance, CBS San Francisco reported.
The Mozilla Foundation denied to the U.K.’s The Register that the board members’ departures were a protest against Eich’s appointment.
Eich himself also addressed the issue in a blog post upon being appointed CEO last week.
“I am deeply honored and humbled by the CEO role. I’m also grateful for the messages of support. At the same time, I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla,” Eich wrote last Wednesday. “I hope to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you. More important, I want to lay them to rest by actions and results.”
Eich wrote that he was dedicated to “active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building,” as well as “working with LGBT allies and communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.”
He also wrote that he remained committed to community participation guidelines, inclusive health benefits, and anti-discrimination policies, and work on “new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized.”
“I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything,” Eich wrote. “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.”
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