Boycott Firefox, gay devs urge as Mozilla appoints JavaScript daddy as CEO

Brendan Eich donated to Prop 8 anti gay marriage campaign


Updated A pair of gay developers have launched a boycott of Firefox in protest against the Mozilla Foundation's decision to appoint a CEO who appears to be an opponent of same sex marriage. Mozilla co-founder and Javascript creator Brendan Eich was awarded the top job yesterday.

Hampton Catlin, creator of Wikipedia Mobile and CSS extension language Sass, said he would no longer develop apps for Firefox after Eich's appointment.

The dev cited a six-year-old database of donor contributions to campaigns in support of and opposition to Proposition 8 listing Brendan Eich, (Employer: Mozilla) as a $1,000 contributor to a campaign in support of the anti-gay marriage California ballot proposition. It's worth noting that all the other contributors listed as working at the firm put money towards opposing the legislation.

Prop 8 was struck down after being ruled unconstitutional in 2010 and the final appeal was put to bed in June last year.

Catlin and his husband run a development firm called Rarebit which makes a game called Color Puzzle and was set to bring a dictionary app to Firefox Marketplace.

In a blog post, Catlin wrote: "As a married gay couple who are co-founders of this venture, we have chosen to boycott all Mozilla projects. We will not develop apps or test styles on Firefox any more.

"This is in protest of the appointment of Brendan Eich to the position of CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, where he had previously served as CTO. We will continue our boycott until Brendan Eich is completely removed from any day to day activities at Mozilla, which we believe is extremely unlikely after all he’s survived and the continued support he has received from Mozilla.”

Catlin and his British husband Michael were unable to get married in California until recently.

The pair always dreamed of starting a company together, but Michael's visa was tied to his employment status. As it was not possible to marry, they were unable to found a new firm.

When the Supreme Court repealed Proposition 8, the couple immediately rushed to San Francisco City Hall to get married. A post-nuptials picture of them was then published on the front page of the New York Times.

“Today, Michael has a green card and we’re able to pursue this venture in the US,” said Catlin. “These days, I am so damn proud of my country for making this all possible. So, that’s why it’s personal for us. Brendan Eich was an active supporter of denying our right to be married and even to start this business."

Mozilla sent us this statement:

Mozilla has always been deeply committed to honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community. With thousands of people spanning many countries and cultures, diversity is core to who we are, and we're united in our mission to keep the Web open and accessible for everyone.

Eich blogged about the controversy over his donation last year on his website, maintaining that "Mozilla had nothing to do with the donation" and "Donors above a certain amount are required by the State of California to disclose their employer". ®


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