NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York-based dating site OKCupid said on Thursday that it was “pleased” that its boycott of Mozilla had brought attention to the issue of same-sex marriage rights, after the new chief executive officer of Mozilla stepped down in the wake of criticism of his stance on the same issue.
Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned Thursday, amid a heated reaction to his prior support of Proposition 8 – the since-invalidated California law that took marriage rights away from same-sex couples.
His resignation came two days after OKCupid greeted users of Mozilla’s Firefox browser with a message asking them to find another way to access the site. On Thursday, OKCupid said Eich’s resignation was evidence of a commitment by Mozilla toward same-sex marriage rights.
“We are pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all partnerships,” said the statement, issued via Twitter. “Today’s decision reaffirms Mozilla’s commitment to that cause. We are satisfied that Mozilla will be taking a number of further steps.”
Eich was prompted to CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based nonprofit Mozilla just 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.
In joining the protest Tuesday, OKCupid told Firefox users in part: “If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8 percent 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.”
OKCupid allowed Firefox users to continue, but asked them instead to click a button directing them to a download site for another browser — Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer. For part of the day, the button for Internet Explorer had read “Internet Exploder.”
On Thursday, Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker said it had been caught off guard by the backlash it received over Eich’s promotion, CBS San Francisco reported.
“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,” Baker said in a blog post. “Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.”
The blog post continued: “Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”
Upon his appointment last week, 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.”
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