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Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent: Why We Must Have Both

Timothy Kincaid

April 22nd, 2014

Following Brendan Eich’s resignation, several members of our community jointly drafted a statement expressing their concern with some of the language used and attitudes expressed during the campaign in opposition to his appointment as Mozilla CEO. The contributors at Box Turtle Bulletin have reviewed the statement and have added our names as signatories.

The last few years have brought an astonishing moral and political transformation in the American debate over same-sex marriage and gay equality. This has been a triumph not only for LGBT Americans but for the American idea. But the breakthrough has brought with it rapidly rising expectations among some supporters of gay marriage that the debate should now be over. As one advocate recently put it, “It would be enough for me if those people who are so ignorant or intransigent as to still be anti-gay in 2014 would simply shut up.”

The signatories of this statement are grateful to our friends and allies for their enthusiasm. But we are concerned that recent events, including the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla under pressure because of an anti-same-sex- marriage donation he made in 2008, signal an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree. We reject that deeply illiberal impulse, which is both wrong in principle and poor as politics.

We support same-sex marriage; many of us have worked for it, in some cases for a large portion of our professional and personal lives. We affirm our unwavering commitment to civic and legal equality, including marriage equality. At the same time, we also affirm our unwavering commitment to the values of the open society and to vigorous public debate—the values that have brought us to the brink of victory.

The full statement is included below, and a signable version is hosted at iPetitions.


**************************************************************

Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent: Why We Must Have Both

The last few years have brought an astonishing moral and political transformation in the American debate over same-sex marriage and gay equality. This has been a triumph not only for LGBT Americans but for the American idea. But the breakthrough has brought with it rapidly rising expectations among some supporters of gay marriage that the debate should now be over. As one advocate recently put it, “It would be enough for me if those people who are so ignorant or intransigent as to still be anti-gay in 2014 would simply shut up.”

The signatories of this statement are grateful to our friends and allies for their enthusiasm. But we are concerned that recent events, including the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla under pressure because of an anti-same-sex- marriage donation he made in 2008, signal an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree. We reject that deeply illiberal impulse, which is both wrong in principle and poor as politics.

We support same-sex marriage; many of us have worked for it, in some cases for a large portion of our professional and personal lives. We affirm our unwavering commitment to civic and legal equality, including marriage equality. At the same time, we also affirm our unwavering commitment to the values of the open society and to vigorous public debate—the values that have brought us to the brink of victory.

Diversity Is the Natural Consequence of Liberty

The gay rights struggle is about freedom and equality for all. The best and most free society is one that allows the largest number to live true to their core beliefs and identities. It is a society that allows its members to speak their minds and shape their own aspirations.

The natural consequence of true liberty is diversity. Unless a society can figure out a way to reach perfect agreement, conflicting views will be inevitable. Any effort to impose conformity, through government or any other means, by punishing the misguided for believing incorrectly will impoverish society intellectually and oppress it politically.

The test of our commitment to liberal principles is not our eagerness to hear ideas we share, but our willingness to consider seriously those we oppose.

Progress Comes from Persuasion

There is no evidence that Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who resigned over his $1,000 donation to California’s Proposition 8 campaign, believed in or practiced any form of discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees. That would be a very different case. He was pressured to leave because of personal political action he took at a time when a majority of the American public shared his view. And while he acknowledged the pain his donation caused, he did not publicly “recant,” which some suggested he should have done as the price of keeping his job.

So the issue is cleanly presented: Is opposition to same-sex marriage by itself, expressed in a political campaign, beyond the pale of tolerable discourse in a free society? We cannot wish away the objections of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions, or browbeat them into submission. Even in our constitutional system, persuasion is a minority’s first and best strategy. It has served us well and we should not be done with it.

Free Speech Is a Value, Not Just a Law

Much of the rhetoric that emerged in the wake of the Eich incident showed a worrisome turn toward intolerance and puritanism among some supporters of gay equality—not in terms of formal legal sanction, to be sure, but in terms of abandonment of the core liberal values of debate and diversity.

Sustaining a liberal society demands a culture that welcomes robust debate, vigorous political advocacy, and a decent respect for differing opinions. People must be allowed to be wrong in order to continually test what is right. We should criticize opposing views, not punish or suppress them.

The freedom—not just legal but social—to express even very unpopular views is the engine that propelled the gay-rights movement from its birth against almost hopeless odds two generations ago. A culture of free speech created the social space for us to criticize and demolish the arguments against gay marriage and LGBT equality. For us and our advocates to turn against that culture now would be a betrayal of the movement’s deepest and most humane values.

Disagreement Should Not Be Punished

We prefer debate that is respectful, but we cannot enforce good manners. We must have the strength to accept that some people think misguidedly and harmfully about us. But we must also acknowledge that disagreement is not, itself, harm or hate.

As a viewpoint, opposition to gay marriage is not a punishable offense. It can be expressed hatefully, but it can also be expressed respectfully. We strongly believe that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong, but the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job. Inflicting such consequences on others is sadly ironic in light of our movement’s hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox opinions.

Enforcing Orthodoxy Hurts Everyone

LGBT Americans can and do demand to be treated fairly. But we also recognize that absolute agreement on any issue does not exist. Franklin Kameny, one of America’s earliest and greatest gay-rights proponents, lost his job in 1957 because he was gay. Just as some now celebrate Eich’s departure as simply reflecting market demands, the government justified the firing of gay people because of “the possible embarrassment to, and loss of public confidence in . . . the Federal civil service.” Kameny devoted his life to fighting back. He was both tireless and confrontational in his advocacy of equality, but he never tried to silence or punish his adversaries.

Now that we are entering a new season in the debate that Frank Kameny helped to open, it is important to live up to the standard he set. Like him, we place our confidence in persuasion, not punishment. We believe it is the only truly secure path to equal rights.

SIGNATORIES

Affiliations and employers are for identification purposes only

Jonathan Adler
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Kenneth Anderson
American University Washington College of Law

Brian Bix
University of Minnesota Law School

David Blankenhorn
President, Institute for American Values

Reginald J. Brown
Partner, WilmerHale

Jim Burroway
Box Turtle Bulletin

Steven G. Calabresi
Northwestern University Law School

Dale Carpenter
University of Minnesota Law School

Brian Chase
Former senior staff attorney, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund

James Chen
Michigan State University Law School

Jeff Cook-McCormac
Senior Advisor, American Unity Fund

John Corvino
Wayne State University

Donald Downs
University of Wisconsin—Madison

Beth Elliott
Daughters of Bilitis
California Committee for Sexual Law Reform

Richard Epstein
New York University School of Law

William A. Galston
The Brookings Institution

Margaret Hoover
President, American Unity Fund

Lisa Graham Keegan
Former Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Timothy Kincaid
Box Turtle Bulletin

Gregory J. King
HRCF Communications Director, 1989-1995

James Kirchick
The Daily Beast

Heidi Kitrosser
University of Minnesota Law School

Jim Kolbe
Former member, U.S. House of Representatives

David Lampo
Author, “A Fundamental Freedom”
Log Cabin Republicans

Eli Lehrer
President, R Street Institute

James Lindgren
Northwestern University Law School

David Link

Fred Litwin
Fabulous Blue Tent

Brett McDonnell
University of Minnesota Law School

William McGeveran
University of Minnesota Law School

Ken Mehlman
Businessman; 62nd Chairman, Republican National Committee

Stephen H. Miller
Independent Gay Forum/IGF Culture Watch

Charles Murray
American Enterprise Institute

Norman Ornstein
American Enterprise Institute

Richard Painter
University of Minnesota Law School

Branden Petersen
Minnesota State Senate

Mark Pietrzyk

David Post
Temple University School of Law

Randy R. Potts
Box Turtle Bulletin

Joe Radinovich
Minnesota State House of Representatives

Jonathan Rauch
The Brookings Institution

Stephen Richer
The University of Chicago Law School
Purple Elephant Republicans

Jonathan W. Rowe
Mercer County Community College

Will Saletan
Slate.com

Robert Sarvis
2014 U.S. Senate candidate, Virginia

Sally Satel
American Enterprise Institute

Leah Ward Sears
Partner at Schiff Hardin LLP
Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice.

Rick Sincere
Chairman, Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty

Christina Hoff Sommers
Resident Scholar
American Enterprise Institute

Andrew Sullivan

Berin Szoka
President, TechFreedom

Rich Tafel
Public Squared

Peter Thiel
Co-founder, PayPal

Rob Tisinai
Box Turtle Bulletin

Eugene Volokh
UCLA School of Law

Sasha Volokh
Emory Law School

Milan Vydareny

Cathy Young
Contributing Editor, Reason Magazine

Comments

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Rowan Bristol
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Wow. The government gave corporations unlimited political speech, and now Box Turtle Bulletin wants to free those same corporation from the consequences of their actions.

No one fired him. No one called for his hanging. The objection was clear: In a world where corporations have an unlimited political voice, that voice can be heard and responded to. This document you’ve signed invalidates the right of the average citizen to speak up against those who hold the levers of corporate ‘speech’, and act. in favor of some nebulous ‘higher ground’.

That’s progress.

I swear, this is one of the few blogs I read that the image I get of the GLBT struggle is that it’s our fault for not being nice enough.

Ben
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Hmm, methinks this is a classic appeal to authority. All those fancy names, if I disagree with them, I must be wrong! Just look how long it is!

Robert
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I see David Blankenhorn’s name. I suppose Charles J. Cooper will be signing soon. Can Maggie Gallagher be far behind?

Hyhybt
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Is this something that would be appropriate for anyone who wants to sign?

Sparky (@Sparkyu1)
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

He had freedom to disagree. And we disagreed with that disagreement.

It wasn’t even that much of a protest! None of the big LGBT orgs spoke until after the event. We had people, ordinary, offended, LGBT people, daring to tweet, to make blog posts, to speak.

LGBT people speaking in protest is apparently a contravention of straight freedom of speech

Are you against all boycotts? All protests? Are you against us writing petitions (oh, wait, apparently not – petitions against us are ok)?

If we find a company is doing something objectionable and homophobic are we obliged to be silent, obliged to keep using their products? Must we eat at Chick-fil-a? Must we all buy tickets for Ender’s Game? Should we not say why we don’t want to do either?

Well, it’s convenient to have a list of names of people who think silencing people criticising bigotry is so important. I shall remember these are people who thing LGBT people should just shut up and take it

Hyhybt
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

“Well, it’s convenient to have a list of names of people who think silencing people criticising bigotry is so important.”—That is too obviously not at all what this is for you not to know better.

Hypatia's Girl
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I think what is missing in the above white paper is that there is a difference between dissenting opinions, freedom of speech, and silencing speech. Members and advocates for underprivileged (of whatever flavor) cannot engage in silencing speech. We do not have the political power to silence our opponents — and, in the case of marriage equality, the animus and desire to silence and hide us cannot be anything other than opposition to the very existence of the LBGTQ community.

Rowan Bristol is exactly right. And I would add that the reason why this made the splash it did was because employees at Mozilla did not feel that Eich would maintain a safe space for LBGTQ persons. It wasn’t grandstanding by the HRC or LAMBDA, it was instead an organic movement that began with the people directly affected.

Using a civil tone while actively participating in making me a second (at best) class citizen does not make that action permissible. Nor can any of us anticipate all the consequences of our actions, yet we are still expected to take responsibility.

Hypatia\'s Girl
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Robert — In addition, I do see Christina Hoff Summers and Charles Murray, so at least we know that it’s not just the gay that have to shut up and take it, it’s ladies and people of color as well.

Charming company.

Mark
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I assume that BTB also believes that CEO’s who publicly support stripping the right to marry from their company’s interracial couples also should remain the public face of the company, all in the name of promoting liberal values.

Larry
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

“…the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job. Inflicting such consequences on others is sadly ironic in light of our movement’s hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox opinions.”

That’s a bizarre statement. LGBT people were/are not fired for having unorthodox opinions.

Further, being LGBT is not the same as stating gay people don’t deserve marriage, or the holocaust didn’t happen or that black people are lazy.

kokas
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

“I see David Blankenhorn’s name. I suppose Charles J. Cooper will be signing soon. Can Maggie Gallagher be far behind?”

LOL that’s exactly what I thought when I saw this list. David Blankenhorn, strange bedfellow indeed.

Sparky (@Sparkyu1)
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Hyhybt:
“That is too obviously not at all what this is for you not to know better.”

That’s exactly what this list is about. Eich was exposed for supporting bigotry and when pressed to explain, he didn’t – he didn’t even rule out supporting said bigotry again.

LGBT people protested, they spoke, they tweeted and made blog posts, they decided not to support Eich’s company

Then along come the people who signed this petition, who are angry and upset that we chose to speak.

Now, hey, freedom of speech, they can be angry and outraged and make a petition about us protesting bigotry because how very dare we.

And I can note them down and remember that these are people who think I, and all LGBTs, should be silent in the face of bigotry. Who think that our speaking is going too far.

RussTX
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Excellent post, I concur with all the petition says.

tim
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

@Hypatia’s Girl

And I would add that the reason why this made the splash it did was because employees at Mozilla did not feel that Eich would maintain a safe space for LBGTQ persons. It wasn’t grandstanding by the HRC or LAMBDA, it was instead an organic movement that began with the people directly affected.

I’m not buying it. There is no proof that he wouldn’t maintain a safe space for gay men and women at the workplace. He was already a leader at the company for years. His donation was known for years. The facts just don’t agree with your statement.

This was a clear and persistent effort to remove him for reasons completely unrelated to his prop 8 donation. And HRC admitted being part of it. The way this was handled reflects poorly on everyone.

MattNYC
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I’ll ignore for a second both the presumably impartial law professors (Dale Carpenter notwithstanding) and the corporate suck-up/apologist gays like Mehlman, Tafel, Sullivan. I even think it’s fine that the BTB trio signed it–it’s a free country.

I don’t even necessarily disagree with the sentiment.

The problem is, this is a press release to the world that “those gays” (i.e., the gay or gay-friendly Mozilla employees and board members who opposed Eich) don’t represent “US.” And I suppose a bunch of these folks will be paraded on Faux News and actual news outlets to speak on “our” behalf instead. I think Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity may be cleaning up stains from their underwear now, because they’ll have freedom/cover to gay bash along side their guests.

These folks are the next Juan Williams.

I feel so proud (not).

patrick
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

How did that vigorous public debate turn out in Russia and Uganda? Not too well? Well, that’s ok, because there was a debate and to the victor go the spoils.

L. C. Burgundy
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I write this post as someone who did not really even breath a word about Eich while he was actually CEO of Mozilla. I personally don’t care about his ignorant politics.

Who exactly caused or “pressured” Mr. Eich to resign? No major organizations ever called for his resignation (not even OKCupid, the biggest external voice of criticism, suggested he actually resign).

There were certainly internal calls for resignation, though. Should employees be silenced because their opinions don’t match their superiors? Have we gotten to the point where a motley crew of blog authors, thinktank wonks, and law school profs are actively chiding all those little clock-punching employees on their lack of display of proper deference to their corporate superiors? Talk about hubris.

Mr. Eich’s real problem was not being silenced or anything of the like. It’s that he kept talking during his brief stint as CEO. Interestingly enough, these hand-wringing petitions never want to talk about how he basically stunk in his short time as CEO. He exhibited almost no personality or leadership in interviews. He had no real explanation for his political donation so he mumbled nonsense about good vibes and how people in Indonesia might appreciate his political stance.

I’m sure Mr. Eich has a great technical mind, but he was very obviously a terrible communicator. I think the only “pressure” he felt was when he realized he wasn’t actually a good fit for the job and he quit.

“There is no evidence that Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who resigned over his $1,000 donation to California’s Proposition 8 campaign, believed in or practiced any form of discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees.”

What the heck does this even mean? The whole point of Proposition 8 was to enshrine permanent legal discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees. How is that not practicing (or at least materially supporting) the cause of discrmination? BTB’s editors are evidently as good at compartmentalization as Mr. Eich was.

Not only did he not regret his prior donation, Mr. Eich was unwilling to exclude further political activity in this area while he served as CEO. Assuming there had been another campaign to break up or disrupt LGBT families while he was CEO, and he had donated and campaigned to that hypothetical campaign, are those LGBT families just supposed to pretend it’s not an act of overt hostility towards them when their CEO is actively furthering a cause to break up their family? I don’t get that at all.

Richard Rush
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

This sentence jumped out to me:

“The best and most free society is one that allows the largest number to live true to their core beliefs and identities.”

That would be nice, but unfortunately, for millions of people in the U.S., “living true to their core beliefs and identities” involves them having absolute dominion/sovereignty over the lives of everyone else. And Eich’s donation to Prop8 is an example of that.

But, I think this episode involving Eich is a matter limited to Mozilla’s employees, board of directors, and the external contributors upon whom Mozilla depends. Perhaps the people who have actually worked with Eich deserve some deference because they surely have knowledge and insights on Eich that we do not have. And perhaps the board of directors were not aware, were insensitive, or were indifferent to those people ~ any of which make them look incompetent. I don’t think any of us are in a position to know the full story.

Chris McCoy
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

What if Eich were asked to resign because he donated to the Opposition of Prop 8, and the Christian employees complained that his donation made them feel that Mozilla was no longer a place where Christians felt comfortable working? Should he have been asked to resign then?

L. C. Burgundy
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

No, Chris, because Prop 8 had absolutely, positively, nothing to do with Christians, Christianity, or the practice thereof.

Ray
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

We must always win the argument by telling our stories and living our lives honorably. In my own experience the only way I won over my family was by engaging the argument with my own life of personal responsibility. I have spend the past several years engaging conservatives right in the heart of their own territory – their online publications – and I have seen hearts and minds changed. We did not get to the place we are in by punishing people. We had to bear punishment while remaining steadfast and showing our opponents with our own lives how they are wrong about us. Nothing will ever move them like your own life experience and at this point in time our opponents are deeply conflicted about their justification for continuing to harm us. At one time they were unified but now they are fragmented by their own conscience. That’s because we have come out and told them the true stories of our lives and they have realized we are human being just like they are. They taught their children to be just in their actions toward others and they now find themselves to be surprised when their children heed that lesson.

I’m proud to sign this petition. I don’t want it ever said that we were unmerciful in the same image as our oppressors. We are better than they are.

TampaZeke
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Too bad you didn’t let people know that virtually NONE of your regular readers and participants agree with you. Almost every single person who has agreed with you and Jim in the comments sections here have been people who came here and became big fans precisely because of Jim’s ridiculous piece on Eich. Most of them had never been heard around here before.

I can’t wait for Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins and Peter Labarbara to sign on with their support.

joe
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I wouldn’t feel comfortable signing anything that also has Ken Mehlman as a signatory. Is Box Turtle Bulletin aware of his actions c. 2004?

In many ways, the petition sounds good, but I don’t think it’s going to age well. There is an “orthodoxy” right now on the matter of interracial marriage; and no one, now, would blink an eye if someone with a history of racist behavior and racist uses of money were pushed out by market forces either within or outside of a company. A petition such as this one on such a matter would be unthinkable.

Is Cathy Young of Reason magazine by any chance the same Cathy Young who published horribly homophobic sentiment (she was all icked out by it) in newspaper columns in the early 1990s?

I admire John Corvino for seeking to engage Maggie Gallagher in a civil debate; but I did not admire Corvino’s column, right after Prop 8 was passed, that said, roughly, “Instead of marching in protest, let’s just all chill out and go have brunch and a martini, because we are gay, after all.”

I admire civility. I don’t admire people being appease-y because they are uncomfortable with conflict, or things changing too quickly.

Again, in the future, perhaps in just a few years, I think this petition will be embarrassing.

Indeed, remember what David Blankenhorn used to say and do – such as at Prop 8 trial, which was not long ago at all.

Remember the horrendous things that Ken Mehlman formerly did.

Remember the horrendous things that Cathy Young (assuming it’s the same Cathy Young and I bet it is) formerly wrote.

The moral zeitgeist is ever shifting, and I think any lamenting of Brendan Eich’s resignation is not going to look good or admirable in the future.

Gene in L.A.
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I disagree with the letter. Eich was not picked on. The gay community did nothing for which we need apologize. Eich did not apologize nor did he forswear making a similar donation in the future. Apparently the signatories are OK with that. I’m not.

Rob in San Diego
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Thank science that Box Turtle Bulletin does not speak for me, cause you will not find my name on that petition. And if any of those names on the petition does not live in California, SHUT UP! You were not affected by prop 8. Us Californian’s always said that there would be consequences for those who supported prop 8.

Eric Payne
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I disagree with BTB, Andrew Sullivan, Ken Mehlman and anyone else who is a signatory to this petition.

No one’s “freedom to dissent” was infringed upon. Such was not asked to resign because of his donation to “Yes on 8.” He was asked, by his corporation’s board, to resign because of the baggage he brought to Mozilla. That that baggage was centered around Eich’s contribution is almost tangential; the Board of Directors, for whatever reason, collectively decided Eich was no longer the face they wanted publicly representing their brand.

Mozilla weighed his pluses against the potential minuses, and Eich tendered his resignation. It happens in business, every day and, to his credit, Eich is not attempting to turn himself into yet another traditional-values martyr. He took a shot. He lost. His “eh, big deal” attitude is to be commended.

vergil arma
April 22nd, 2014 | LINK

with friends like box turtle who needs enemies?

branding opponents as haters and bigots has been extremely successful.

now these dickweed collaborationists want to enable the bigots and play into their faux martyrdom scenario.

in most circles there is a social cost (punishment) for being openly racist. that same ethos is now developing in regard to gay issues. and these asswipes want to derail it?

disgusting. absolutely disgusting.

they naively think that the hard-core religious anti-gay bigots need to be reasoned with instead of being shamed.

recently oprah said about the hard-core racists who still are clinging to pre-civil rights era attitudes about blacks that they just needed to die off. she had no illusion about criticizing and persuading.

Neil
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Oh dear. I was hoping something had been learned here by the main contributors of BTB about the full detail and wider factors that went into Eich’s resignation.

Instead, they’ve plumbed for a simplified take on the issue of freedom of speech. For a better understanding of what happened I’d recommend reading Mozilla Executive Chairwoman, Mitchell Baker’s view.

The petition claims:

There is no evidence that Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who resigned over his $1,000 donation to California’s Proposition 8 campaign, believed in or practiced any form of discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees.

Technically this is true. Eich accepted the company wouldn’t directly enact discriminatory policies. But he does believe employees, as part of the wider society, are fair game.

“There’s a difference here between the company, the foundation, as an employer and an entity, versus the project and community at large, which is not under any constraints to agree on LGBT equality or any other thing that is not central to the mission or the Mozilla manifesto.”

The staff of Mozilla, and the staff at companies that serve it, also have freedom of speech. They spoke. As Mitchell Baker put it,

“Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public.”

And so they did. And Brendan Eich did a woeful job of winning their confidence. I understand the wish to support Brendan Eich’s right to free speech. I don’t understand why that same level of respect isn’t shown to the people who were concerned about his qualities as CEO of Mozilla.

Eich said the reason Mozilla as a community did not take a wider stance on issues such as LGBT marriage was the same as his reason for not explaining his donation: to avoid fragmenting its community.

But then it turned out his reluctance to be drawn into a discussion was fragmenting the community from him. It seems to me that out of concern for the future of Mozilla, he stepped down. He wasn’t going to be an effective leader. Yes, this is all about free speech, Brendan Eich’s and everyone else’s.

Jim Hlavac
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

What exactly is this “debate”? It’s not a debate — it’s an assault on gay folks — and we are supposed to listen to it — to listen yet again to what the ‘other side’ might have to say?

the ‘other side’ has made it clear – they want us gone — for us not to be gay – -for us to marry anyone else’s daughter but their own … they are clear that we are sick, demented, deranged and evil — we are destroying society — attacking everything and on and on come the calumny —

to argue that this is a “debate” is farcical. It’s not a “debate” — it’s an unholy attack upon us through misrepresentations, lies, and outright falsehoods — and our defense.

“debate” my foot — this isn’t about where a road should go — or whether we should spend this or that amount of money on forestry — this is about these people trashing us and demanding we accede to the trashing.

the whole thing has never been a “debate” between gays and heteros — though perhaps it’s a debate betwixt heteros over whether some should be allowed to be nice to us — while the worst argue that no hetero should say a nice word about us ever — and we gays should agree with the worst about us.

Egad, “debate” — nonsense.

John30013
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Hypatia’s Girl, L.C. Burgundy, and Neil have it right. This petition starts from a faulty premise (that Eich was fired because of outrage by the gay community and its allies over his past political activities); everything else—noble as those sentiments are—simply does not apply to the situation.

It’s a real shame to see so many otherwise discerning people signing on to this drivel, especially since Mozilla has provided this FAQ that lays out plainly all the circumstances that led to Rich’s resignation. With all the lawyers who signed this thing, you’d think at least one of them could have bothered to do some basic research before embarrassing themselves with this little propaganda piece.

Merv
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, Timothy, and Rob,

While the conclusion you reached is reasonable, it is not the only reasonable conclusion, and the arguments you used to get there are flawed. I’ll describe why.

As someone above noted, the following claim in your statement is wrong: “The best and most free society is one that allows the largest number to live true to their core beliefs and identities.” The problem is that it ignores an important fundamental principal: Equality under the law. Otherwise, you could argue that a society that is 99% Muslim but doesn’t allow the 1% who are Jewish to vote is the “best and most free” society. Obviously, it is not. It’s important to point this out because the marriage equality debate is, of course, one about equality under the law.

You correctly identified the crux of the debate with one question, and frankly, the rest of your argument is almost completely irrelevant. That question is: “Is opposition to same-sex marriage by itself, expressed in a political campaign, beyond the pale of tolerable discourse in a free society?” The answer is “Yes… but”. It is beyond the pale, because it violates the principal of equality under the law. However, for pragmatic reasons, we need to recognize that it takes time even for reasonable people of good will to reach the conclusion that, in hindsight, will be obvious to almost everyone. So, the question effectively becomes “What is an appropriate grace period?” The answer will be different for different people, and that’s reasonable and expected. For workers at Mozilla, a non-profit in the Bay Area, staffed by idealistic young tech workers, the answer is probably that the grace period was over by 2008. Ironically, for people like Andrew Sullivan, and the owners of this blog, who have been advocating and debating the issue for decades, it will probably take longer to come to the conclusion that the time for debate has ended.

Merv
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

*Oops, obviously I meant Jim, Timothy, and Rob above.

Nick
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

CRASH AND BURN

vergil arma
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

how interesting to see rob “oscar lopez” tisani signing on to this garbage together with someone who clerked for clarence thomas.

’nuff said.

totally naive about realpolitic, these bigot enablers are out to undermine our movement and sign over the farm to the bigots reassuring them that it’s ok to be anti-gay because you’re still a good person.

it reminds me of the simpsons’ day of future future where there’s no retirement even though there’s only 1 republican in the senate. but the 1 republican knows how to get things done.

these collaborationists and bigot enablers need to take a hike.

wait until we’ve won. then we can show more pity to the bigots than they’ve shown to us.

Ben
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

What will be interesting is if any of the 3 moderators learn anything from the dissent of their readers, or, if like the conservative anti-marriage religious conservatives, when faced with overwhelming evidence they are in the wrong, cling ever more tightly to their primitive beliefs.

I predict either ignoring it, or doubling down. (tripling down by now?)

Nonaya
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

It is probably time to retire Box Turtle Bulletin. There are plenty of other more popular sites that actually are pro-gay. Their is no honor in treating an intractable foe like the Religious Reich with any kind of respect. They would kill you as soon as look at you despite your boot-licking and then they would laugh at how stupid you were while they kicked your dead body.

Jonathan
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I would never sign this statement because of this line:

“There is no evidence that Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who resigned over his $1,000 donation to California’s Proposition 8 campaign, believed in or practiced any form of discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees.”

There are two problems.

1. Prop 8 was an ugly lie-filled campaign. It’s one thing to vote for prop 8, and totally another to provide financial assistance. The outcome of that campaign was the sneering talking point that “millions more Californians believe your marriage is harmful to society… the people voted… that you’re inferior…” There is no avoiding that message, no claims of ignorance, not from the CEO of a major company.

2. The Prop 8 campaign organizers were not willing to tolerate California’s 18,000 marriages. If a single Mozilla employee’s marriage was threatened (with annulment) by that campaign, then Eich is guilty of discrimination towards that employee, only it wasn’t direct discrimination, it was cowardly, hiding behind the “voters” discrimination.

In addition to those points, Eich had a very lucrative position as Mozilla’s CTO. That position was a good fit for him. He wrote good code. But CEO is different. In that role, he represents the diverse open source community, and in that role, he’s not allowed to be a clueless geek. As CEO, he, personally represents the values of the company. He was given the opportunity to explain what he learned since 2008 and he failed. Like any new job, there is a probation period to insure that the fit is right. It wasn’t.

Richard Rush
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I’m wondering how soon there will be a petition in the wake of the “resignation” of Marionville, Missouri, Mayor Dan Clevenger for simply expressing agreement with some anti-Semitic beliefs.

http://time.com/71743/missouri-mayor-dan-clevenger-anti-semitism/

A Missouri mayor resigned Monday following strong community backlash against anti-Semitic comments he made in the wake of Kansas City’s fatal Jewish centers shootings, allegedly committed by a man he once considered a friend. . . .

Clevenger admitted to writing a letter ten years ago to the editor at the Aurora Advertiser stating, “I am a friend of Frazier Miller helping to spread his warnings. The Jew-run medical industry has succeeded in destroying the United State’s [sic] workforce.”

Lord_Byron
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

We as a society already shun those people that espouse racist, sexist, or xenophobic views, well those that are not extremely conservative do, so why is this any different? As has been pointed out hundreds of times people would have been calling for eich’s head if he said that women belonged at home or that white software engineers were far superior to anyone else.

This is not a public policy debate. This is us verse a group of people that view us as pedophiles, sex offenders, drug addicts et cetra. They want us to shut up, sit down, and be good little gays who don’t rock the boat.

As for the petition itself I tend to not judge people by the company we keep, but come on now. You have: Jim Kolbe for voted for the national defense of marriage act in 96, Ken Mehlman who helped bush get elected by using the anti-equality amendments to get supporters out, and Charles Murray who wrote one of the most racist books of the last century.

Look, I am all for debate, but the fact is that they don’t want just a debate. They want to dictate what society allows .

” Is opposition to same-sex marriage by itself, expressed in a political campaign, beyond the pale of tolerable discourse in a free society? ”

Hmm let’s put that another way and see if people would agree it. ” Is opposition to Latinos/blacks/women/muslims et cetra by itself, expressed in a political campaign, beyond the pale of tolerable discourse in a free society?”

” It can be expressed hatefully, but it can also be expressed respectfully.”

Oh yes, because there are perfectly nice ways to tell people that you think they are a danger to society, will corrupt children, and will lead to the collapse of western civilization. It doesn’t matter what pretty words you use to argue your point you are still arguing that LGBT people should be second class citizens.

“People must be allowed to be wrong in order to continually test what is right. We should criticize opposing views, not punish or suppress them.”

Germany makes it illegal to deny the holocaust ever happened and yet Germany has a very open society.

Lastly, there is a difference in being fired for who you/what you have no control over and being fired for actions.

JohnAGJ
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I don’t post much anymore, mainly due to time but also because there really doesn’t seem to be much real discussion over issues. Having said that I did want to take the time to say “thank you” to all the contributors here at BTB for the superb work you do and now for signing this open letter. I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed within it.

john not mccain
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Tim and Jim:

Thank you for admitting that you are self-hating faggots. Wouldn’t it be funny if you were both gay bashed to death? I sure would laugh.

MattNYC
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

“What will be interesting is if any of the 3 moderators learn anything from the dissent of their readers”

Huh?

It’s their blog and if anyone stops reading their excellent coverage of news issues because of a political opinion, then stop reading. It’s not like this is Faux News–they actually provide great information on BTB and I agree with their “commentary” more often than not.

You can Google on how to remove a bookmark/favorite if you don’t know how.

Read or don’t read if you want. Anyone suggesting the site be shut down or shunned actually proves their point–and I am not referring to this specific letter.

You want to start a blog? It’s pretty easy to do so.

(Besides which, if there was no BTB, where would people go to b*tch??? ;)

vergil arma
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

since you box turtle boys are in a signing mood, don’t forget to add your john hancock here:

http://manhattandeclaration.org/#0

Steve
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

At this point what’s most interesting on BTB are the historical tidbits. Not the often ridiculous commentary on current events.

CPT_Doom
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

You know, the donor lists for Prop 8 have been out for years, as have the donor lists for most of the anti-gay campaigns waged in the past few years. Nearly every anti-gay hate amendment passed in the states – and even some of those that did not pass – publicly released the names of those who signed petitions to get them on the ballot.

We know who supported those anti-gay movements. We know who contributed money to the propaganda campaigns (campaigns that painted us as a threat to children, the family and the very foundation of civilization). We know who believes we should be second-class citizens.

Yet somehow there has not been a witch hunt. No major gay groups, no LGBT leaders or writers or bloggers or academics have called for the firing of all those who supported the hate. We have not blackballed every contributor; we have not called for public apologies from every one of them, we have not attacked their character or supported referenda to limit their rights. Those are the disturbed fantasies of people like Brian Brown or Fischer or LaBabera.

There have been isolated cases – a theater manager in Northern California and Eich are actually the only two I can think of off the top of my head – where a donation to an anti-gay hate campaign has become an employment issue. Pretty much otherwise, we’ve understood that those who support such hate have a right to their hate.

The LGBT community’s response to the hatred unleashed in campaigns like Prop 8 has been two-fold. First we took to the streets and demanded our rights. We made it clear to our neighbors and our families and our coworkers that we would not be pushed back into second-class status. Second, we told our stories. In the ME, MD, MN and WA campaigns of 2012, we knocked on door after door. Using social media, we promoted stories like Zach Wahls to demonstrate just how regular we really are.

The problem I have with this letter is that it buys into the paranoid fears of our enemies, and ignores the reality of both the Eich controversy and the movement tactics to date. As others have pointed out, Eich was not pressured to resign, and likely did not resign, simply because of a donation. His inability to stop from cramming his foot deeper and deeper into his mouth and his other past donations (including anti-Semite Pat Buchanan), certainly had to play a factor as well. And it is not unreasonable for a company to expect, particularly in a sector like technology, that tends to be extremely progressive on social issues, that a CEO can create and maintain a work environment that aligns with the company’s value system.

Hypatia's Girl
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

@tim

Buying or not buying, both internally and (including at least one couple who were directly affected by the Prop 8 campaign to exclude gays from full citizenship.

But that’s not really the point — the crux of this ongoing argument is that Eich’s opinions are not the problem, just like Dan Cathy’s, Tony Perkin’s, or Paul Cameron’s are hateful, slimy “opinions” that they are welcome to debate with anyone who has the strength of stomach to hear out.

But, first, freedom of speech does not carry with it a mandate that idiotic speech be treated equally with well reasoned speech, that civilly phrased hatefulness be treated as more humane that understandably angry responses to that hatefulness, nor does anyone owe them any attention at all.

Second, Eich’s actions demonstrably contributed to harm and political exclusion of LGBT citizens. This is not equivalent to members of the community harmed speaking out about the harm done to them.

By your reasoning we cannot fight against “ex-gay” therapy, we cannot choose to avoid economically, individually or collectively, businesses or persons that are known to be acting in ways that directly harm us.

It is an unreasonable stance on freedom of speech to expect that those who are harmed by actions another took cannot speak out against that person as harmful. And it is exceedingly strange to see that unreasonably stance so vigorously defended between posts that chronicle the history of the fight for gay visibility, dignity, and rights.

Hypatia's Girl
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

My HTML is weak – these two links should have been included in the first sentence.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/03/mozilla-employees-to-brendan-eich-step-down/

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/03/gay-firefox-developers-boycott-mozilla-to-protest-ceo-hire/

Quiddity
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Hypatia’s Girl:

Re your “freedom of speech does not carry with it a mandate that idiotic speech be treated equally with well reasoned speech”.

Yes it does. Otherwise, who is the arbiter of what’s idiotic or well reasoned speech? You? The exalted Council of the Wise? We went through this argument in the 20th century and ended up concluding that nobody should make that distinction.

Re your “Eich’s actions demonstrably contributed to harm and political exclusion of LGBT citizens”. That’s what happens in politics. Is that not to be allowed (by sanctioning individuals)?

There’s been so much special pleading regarding Eich: He’s a CEO. Anti-gay discrimination is a higher type of offense (therefore Eich was fair game). He wasn’t fired, he resigned. The Prop 8 campaign was deceitful Eich only needs to issue a public recantation of his errors. Etc.

Those are arguments by people who know The Truth and therefore bothersome issues like privacy can be brushed aside.

My view is that (1) non-publicized political donations should be considered private and, (2) private activity should not be a factor in one’s employment.

Regarding money going into politics, I think it’s good that we allow the public to know where it’s coming from, so that people can make a judgement about the candidate or proposition, but that we should not use that information in any way to punish the donor (by imposing sanctions; consequences-free denunciation is okay).

As to the petition, the signatories are, by and large, odious characters on the right, but that doesn’t mean what the petition said is invalid. It was a fair assessment of what happened and the risks we face if witch hunts like that Eich faced become normative.

Jonathan
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I did want to say that I think I understand why the BTB authors signed the letter – to show that we are better than our opponents, that we can handle opposing views and arguments, that we aren’t afraid of the truth and that we believe that even the most ignorant or bigoted person can learn and change.

These are all noble reasons. I also believe that there is a larger political calculus and that within that calculus, these types of noble gestures will backfire. In spite of that disagreement, I fully support BTB. You guys provide a great service to the community. Keep up the good work.

MattNYC
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

@Quiddity

“Anti-gay discrimination is a higher type of offense (therefore Eich was fair game).”

I don’t think anyone is saying this. The bigger point is that if you replaced the beneficiary of his contribution with an organization/cause that was against the rights of women, Blacks, Asians, Jews, etc., would there still be “outrage at the outrage”? No–the Eich detractors would be considered with respect by all but Faux News and the RWNJs. But because he supported an anti-gay rights issue, he should be given a pass by everyone???

Todd
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Money isn’t speech.

Money helped Prop 8 supporters remove rights form gay couples.

What Eich did wasn’t speech, he actively helped remove equal rights from other citizens. He didn’t just talk about it. He wasn’t sorry about it. He didn’t learn, he wasn’t persuaded, he hasn’t been educated.

What happened to Eich was Justice, or Karma if you prefer. Most of the time both Justice and Karma need some human help and for once they got it.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rather hypocritical of you to condemn Mozilla for not tolerating speech they find over the line when you don’t tolerate speech here that you think is over the line.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I agree with most of the commentors here and I’m really proud of how well they’ve made their case.

Ben
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn, commentors such as yourself, straightgrandma and many others have pointed out the hypocrisy (both internally at BTB and within American politics) but rather than admit their opinion is wildly off from their reader base (or even potentially wrong), Timothy apparently thinks this appeal to authority, massive word salad, and pitifully attended petition (it’s at 51 signatures as of now) is going to sway us to his point of view.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

An ohio teacher was fired after he told a black student who said he wanted to be president “the United States doesn’t need another black president” – where’s the petition saying he shouldn’t have been fired for living true to his core beliefs and identity?

http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2014/04/22/oh-teacher-fired-for-racist-statement-to-student/#more-27274

RainbowPhoenix
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Some things are fundamentally cruel. It doesn’t matter what pretty words you mask it with. It’s still cruel. One of those things is telling a minority group that the law must discriminate against them because they’re predators out to corrupt and steal people’s children.

This entire debate is undercut by a double standard in how minorities are allowed to react to being hurt. Ethnic and religious minorities are allowed to get angry and retaliate. So are the disabled. But not us. Why is this? Why are we supposed to just sit back and accept the belief that we’re abominations, or child-molesters, or rapists, or whatever our opponents felt like comparing us to that day? I am not naïve enough to think we can just wish this double standard away, but in the meantime, we should not be facilitating it.

Of course, this is all academic, since this letter is already starting from a simply false narrative about mobs of pitchfork wielding gays demanding Eich be fired. Not a single gay advocacy group even commented on the issue. The backlash came directly from his employees, then a purely grassroots campaign of people deciding not to give their money to someone who will just use it to hurt them or someone they care about. That was an expression of free speech, not a violation.

Adam
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

This whole paragraph is patently false, and given that it is purportedly the foundation of this whole petition, your signatures to it are an embarrassing example of uncritical thought on this issue.

“There is no evidence that Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who resigned over his $1,000 donation to California’s Proposition 8 campaign, believed in or practiced any form of discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees. That would be a very different case. He was pressured to leave because of personal political action he took at a time when a majority of the American public shared his view. And while he acknowledged the pain his donation caused, he did not publicly “recant,” which some suggested he should have done as the price of keeping his job.”

Mobilizing state law to obliterate the right of LGBT employees to marry didn’t discriminate against them? Donating large sums of money to a public proposition to amend the law is a “personal political action”? Civil rights are subject to majority views? People called on him to recant? Nope, nope, and nope.

Maybe you should forward this petition to Indonesia, whose values Eich claims appreciate his stance that he would continue to donate to Prop 8–even as CEO–if he had the chance.

Richard Rush
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Unless there were no gay people employed by Mozilla in 2008, Brendan Eich most certainly did discriminate against Mozilla employees.

Bigg
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I would not have signed this document, but fortunately I think it made much less of an impression than Eich’s exit did.

Ben
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Look at this list of upper class gays who have historically been the least likely to face arbitrary firings in the past decades and are literally immune in 2014, objecting to someone who contributed to an ongoing marriage equality battle that still to this very day affects hundreds of thousands of working class GLBT who can be fired on a whim and face costly legal battles if they can even begin to defend their rights.

I honestly cannot tell if I was right in my previous diagnoses of gay Uncle Toms, desperate to prove to the existing power structure they won’t rock the political boat if only they can have marriage, if they are a group of petite bourgeoisie quaking in their boots that a group of working class people managed to threaten one of their own through grass-roots actions, or if it’s just a refusal to back down from a poorly made point, but probably a combo of all three.

You were roundly spanked by frequent contributors tearing your posts to shreds, so you run to a internet-wide petition thinking it will show you to be in the right, but the paltry signature number isn’t quite doing that. I again wonder if you will eventually drop it, or maybe engage in the slightest razor’s edge sliver of introspection to see if you are far more concerned about one wealthy white straight cis man than you are about the literal tens of thousands of GLBT who are still facing actual discrimination in marriage law, workplace firings, healthcare, and housing. Not to mention these same groups he donated to still exist and are continuing their fight for inequality both in America and abroad (to great success). But no, truly the plight to waste four (and counting!) lengthy blog posts is that of the poor, pitiable CEO.

Neon Genesis
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Why is BTB obsessed with shaming any gay person that disagrees with them on this? Just let it go already or you’re going to ruin your blog’s reputation. What happened to the good ‘ol days when BTB reported on actual news like the plight of the LGBT community in Uganda? Does BTB even have anything important to contribute to the LGBT blogosphere community anymore?

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Nearly twenty-four hours have passed since this entry was posted and I’ve read the comments with interest. I welcome debate on this issue, but I’d like to clear up a few points.

This letter does not call for silencing critics of bigotry. I’ve spent a good deal of time here criticizing bigotry and have no intention to stop. This letter calls for more speech, not less. Nor does it call for an end to boycotts, protests, and petitions. Rather, it opposes targeting an individual’s livelihood for factors independent of job performance. This is fundamentally different, for example, from correctly firing a teacher who abuses his paid position by targeting students with racist, sexist, or homophobic denigration.

I do recognize that many factors contributed to Eich’s resignation, and that protests from outside the company might not have been the proximate cause for his departure. I also recognize, however, that many people, including some commenters at BTB, did think his Prop 8 donation was sufficient reason to demand his resignation. That’s what this letter addresses.

I’m not worried by an accusation that I might be far more concerned about one wealthy white straight cis man than about the literal tens of thousands of GLBT who are still facing actual discrimination in marriage law, workplace firings, healthcare, and housing. That can be cleared up simply by comparing of how much time I’ve devoted to advocating for the rights of those tens of thousands versus how much time I’ve devoted to Eich.

I’ve worked to make it clear that my major concern is not for Eich per se, but for basic principles that affect all members of society, including LGBT folk who have been harmed again and again when those principles were violated. I’ve also made it clear I understand people of good faith can disagree with my application of those principles without it besmirching their character or requiring me to root through their psychology for hidden motives.

The letter is not an argument from authority. Those signatures are there to indicate public agreement with a statement, and as with any petition, the truth or error of the statement depends not at all on the number or pedigree of the signatories. I don’t have control over who else signs the petition, but I’m not worried Peter Labarbera or Tony Perkins or Maggie Gallagher will sign any statement affirming that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong.

Finally, my middle name is “John,” not “Oscar Lopez.” I’m not a collaborationist, though I may at times be a dickweed. You’ll have to ask Will.

Boris Hirsi
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Whatever. You have lost me. But you have gained the support of Bryan Ficher and Bryan Brown and they will not hesitate to use this against ALL of us. Including those of us who are not white,m rich, privileged and married to a peron of different nationality.

Rob, Jim… to you Brandon Eich is more important than my life. I can understand that, unlike Andrew Sullivan, I am not proivileged white guy with audience. I am just a human being, a gay man married to a guy from abroad. Man of no significance to you.

Enjoy your new best pals, Tony Perkins and Peter LaBarbera.

Sam Handwich
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Eich was granted every opportunity to discuss his donation to a political effort to strip gay and lesbian Californians and their families of their marriage rights under the state constitution. However, all he provided was silence, which was clearly self-imposed.

“Free speech”, whether it’s a blog post or a publicly disclosed campaign donation, carries with it NO PROTECTIONS from public scrutiny or private ramifications.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Boris, if you and others in your situation were of no significance to me, I wouldn’t have spent days researching, writing, and making this video.
http://youtu.be/PW8ceSW-uiM

I genuinely do not see how the statement posted above (even if you don’t weigh it against the many other contributions I’ve made to this site) lead you to that conclusion, and I am sincerely interested in understanding.

Throbert McGee
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I think a crucial point being overlooked is that the Eich kerfuffle happened because hundreds of thousands of literal-minded LGBT people actually believed the maudlin, hyperbolic nonsense that “Prop 8 supporters want to tear gay families apart” and “Prop 8 destroyed gay lives”, boo-hoo, meeble-meeble-meeble!

If it were indeed TRUE that Prop 8 “tore gay families apart,” then the activists who wanted vengeance against Brendan Eich would’ve been justified, because tearing families apart is a very rude and anti-social thing to do, particularly if wild dogs and/or industrial wood shredders are involved.

The ACTUAL TRUTH, of course, is that there was practically no legal difference at all between California’s “same-sex marriages” and California’s “same-sex domestic partnerships.” And Prop 8 did not have the slightest effect on the status of domestic partnerships.

There were a few small differences, mind you, but they were minor ones and could’ve been rectified without the need for millions of LGBT people to carry on like wailing, self-pitying, snot-dripping DRAMA QUEENS because their feelings were hurt.

The pathetic joke in all of this is that a lot of the drama queens who paraded around with duct tape on their mouths and “NO H8!” written on their faces with Sharpies claim that they badly want the dignity of “Marriage,” which is lacking in “domestic partnerships.”

Sam Handwich
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Is a California “domestic partnership” observed by Massachusetts or Canada? Is it recognized by the IRS? Social security? The US military?

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Sam,

At the time that Eich made his donation to Proposition 8, domestic partnerships were recognized by some other state and some other countries (Ireland, for example). I’m not sure if Massachusetts and Canada were among them.

But at that time full-fledged same-sex marriages were not recognized by the IRS, Social Security, or the US military.

There were differences in dignity and in social message, but by 2008 there were almost no legal differences between a California domestic partnership and a California same-sex marriage.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Throbert, your argument fails because, as Boris makes implicitly clear and as my video shows quite explicitly, there are distinct differences between domestic partnerships and same-sex marriage, differences that can lead to families being torn apart. Those differences were not in effect in 2008 (because the Federal government did not recognize same sex marriage), but we were all looking to a future where they’d matter quite a bit.

In fact, of all the comments posted so far, yours is the one that (inadvertently) reminds me of why Eich’s donation causes so much justifiable outrage.

And that doesn’t even mention your characterization of those who disagree with you as “wailing, self-pitying, snot-dripping DRAMA QUEENS.” That’s a violation of our comments policy, but I’ll let it stand because I haven’t deleted other comments here by people who have called me worse on this thread and others.

Kevin P
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I just don’t understand what the signers of this petition would have liked us to do? Just ignore Eich’s contribution? Not say anything at all and go about our daily lives? They say they welcome criticism but when people critcized Eich and Mozilla’s choice to him, people like Sullivan, Saletan, and others freaked out, claiming we were crossing a line. So what exactly should we have done?

Also, the protests against Eich were grassroots, not some big push by Gay Inc. So why is it being portrayed as such? HRC, Lambda Legal, GLAD, Freedom to Marry – none of them issues press releases starting a “Remove Eich” campaign. Instead, numerous tech bloggers and Mozilla employees stated they were uncomfortable with the choice of new CEO. Some of them tweeted that they were “asking” for Eich to step down – not “demanding it” as this petition and numerous articles by Sullivan seems to imply.

Finally, how the hell is Eich the victim in all this? People forget his side won for five years in CA – how many CA gay couples were prevented from marrying due to the campaign Eich helps finance?

Sam Handwich
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

So i can presume that Eich and his wife would have been just as happy with a domestic partnership. Of course not – it was an is a second class arrangement – separate and not equal, particularly in terms of at least partial portability to other states, and now in terms of federal recognition.

Seriously, guys – all your apologizing about this matter is pathetic. Eich quit, no big gay bully forced him. Private business matter. End of story.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I just don’t understand what the signers of this petition would have liked us to do? Just ignore Eich’s contribution? Not say anything at all and go about our daily lives?

Kevin, I address that at the end of this post.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Yes Throbert, how petty of lesbians and gays to want the same rights other people have. Who do they think they are, the equals of heterosexuals?! They should be damn glad they aren’t being stoned to death and leave it at that.

Jonathan
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Throbert- Well, just be SO grateful you’re not one of those “snot-nosed, hand-wringing queens” After all, you should congratulate yourself on being so above it all.

Obviously, you Are not from CA. The campaign run by Prop 8 by Frank Schubert caused a huge amount of pain, violence and division.

I personally didn’t care to be called a pedophile, a threat to peoples children or a deviant. That was the campaign.

I watched a 16 year old girl punched in the face by a 45 year old man from an evangelical church, his fellow congregation members helped him to escape before the police arrived. Nothing says christian like punching little girls in the face.

The pyrrhic victory that was Prop 8 was their undoing. You can get off of your high horse now, your rant is tiresome. I presume it is lonely being an arrogant, selfish jerk.

Mark F.
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

The issue here is fairly clear. Should people who oppose same sex marriage or donate money in support of campaigns against equal rights be pressured to resign or be fired from their jobs because of it?

Kevin P
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, I read your article and I agree that dialogue is important. But people did try and open a dialogue with Eich. According to the Twitter feed of Hampton Catlin, one of the first to question the decision to hire Eich, Catlin and Eich sat down to lunch to discuss the issue. Catlin didn’t want to change Eich’s mind, he just wanted Eich to understand how his donation was troubling to Catlin and apologize for the harm it caused. But Catlin came away from the conversation without that apology or even a sense that Eich understood the pain Prop 8 caused.

When several interviewers tried to ask Eich about his current views on the issue, he stonewalled them and wouldn’t even say if he would support a Prop 8 bill again.

Finally, in a blog post about Eich’s resignation, Mark Surman, an executive with Mozilla, said “Brendan didn’t need to change his mind on Proposition 8 to get out of the crisis of the past week. He simply needed to project and communicate empathy. His failure to do so proved to be his fatal flaw as CEO.”

So people tried to engage with Eich and create a dialogue and he refused. So what then?

I just don’t understand how people saying “I think he should resign” and “I am uncomfortable with the CEO who holds these views” are stepping on people’s right to dissent. They are free to dissent all they want – and we are free to push back on that dissent.

Richard Rush
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Boris, is this your first time here at Box Turtle Bulletin? While I disagree with Jim, Timothy, and Rob on the Brendon Eich matter, I know, from being a longtime reader, that they are absolutely 100% committed to the mission of achieving full equal rights for ALL gay people. But committed people can and do disagree on how to get there.

And as a longtime reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog, I would say the same about him, as well.

Ryan
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

@Mark F, actually no. The issue here is “should employees of a company have any say in who represents them at the CEO level”? I say yes, they should.

@Rob–I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get past your criticizing a private university for not funding a speech by Robert Oscar Lopez, and I can see I’m not alone. I understand you’re upset that the middle name the other commenter gave you, but that seems more than fair, given the circumstances.

I don’t understand this statement in the letter:

“There is no evidence that Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who resigned over his $1,000 donation to California’s Proposition 8 campaign, believed in or practiced any form of discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees.”

Is it BTB’s position that opposition that Prop 8 is not a form of discrimination?

And finally, does anything think for a second that if it came out that Hobby
Lobby’s CEO had donated to some org that supported the passage of Obamacare that he would still have his job? Of course not! His employees would have started the same sort of grassroot campaign the Mozilla employees did. As would be their right. And you can be damn sure that no letter of condemnation would be coming from any Christian group anywhere.

Désirée
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

so the BTB position is:
Bigots should not lose their jobs for being bigots. got it. Ignoring it.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Ryan, for the record, I’m not upset by vergil’s nickname for me, just amused (that ought to come through in the way I presented it), which kind of shows the limitations of the shaming strategy when it goes to a place where it can’t be taken seriously.

As for whether the nickname is appropriate, that’s dubious given my recent dismantling of Lopez, the sort of dismantling that Stanford students are capable of doing (I was grad student teaching assistant there, so I know), that they’d have gotten good practice doing, and that helps our cause when we do it.

And of course, nothing I wrote was a defense of Lopez per se (whom I called an “idiot” if you’ll recall) but rather expressed a fierce disagreement over the purpose of a university.

Finally, I do think that Prop 8 was a form of discrimination, but Eich did not impose it (or a corporate version of it) in his role as CEO.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Thanks, Richard. As I wrote before, I hope that we can have this important discussion without either side caricaturing the position (or character) of the other.

Boris Hirsi
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I have visisted here often throughout the years but have no intention to do it ever again.

As I said, Rob and others who signed only succeeded in providing ammo to those who wish to destroy our lives so they can be happy with the gleeful support of AFA and Liberty Counsel. Rejoice.

As I said they’re more concerned about the fate of this privileged white man than those thousands who he sought to harm. But then people like Andrew Sullivan most likely feels his life more close to him that those of us who fight with immigration, benefits or health issues.

What you’re saying is that the people who protested to Eich should not have done it. Bryan Fischer agrees with you.

You have lost me forever. And what you’re doing now is splitting the movement. And it is not about the strategy or even principle. It is about those of us who are provileged and those who are not. And obviously the lives and fates of the privileged are more important to you.

Ryan
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

“Finally, I do think that Prop 8 was a form of discrimination, but Eich did not impose it (or a corporate version of it) in his role as CEO.”

But he did believe in it, and the letter says he didn’t. He also attempted to impose it on Mozilla employees. Or at least the ones in California. And he wouldn’t rule out attempting to impose said discrimination on Mozilla employees again.

It doesn’t help our case to engage with people like Lopez or Lively or the Westboro Church. No further “dismantling” of their vile statements are needed. Allowing people like that to speak at a private university (and funding them, no less) legitimizes viewpoints like “gay men want to enslave pregnant women” and pretends they are worthy of debate.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

What you’re saying is that the people who protested to Eich should not have done it.

I have explicitly disavowed such an idea. I’ve also asked you to explain why you think I don’t care about the issues important to you. I’ve even shown you how I’ve advocated for those issues. And I’ve made the point that for me this is about principles that don’t just protect the privileged but whose past violations have hurt the most vulnerable parts of society, especially gays and lesbians.

You repeatedly ignore that in favor of pushing a false caricature of who I am, despite evidence to the contrary.

Continuum
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Eich had his free speech . . . in the form of Robert’s Court cash.

Now, we have our right to free speech in refusing to do business with the bigoted Eich.

Just substitute Jew, Black, or another race in the place of gay and see whether you would want to sign on to this letter.

Shame on the Box Turtle writers for joining hands with these self-loathing gays.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

For the record, one comment to this post was deleted as a violation of the comments policy, but we have put it back.

Boris Hirsi
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I do care about your past actions and do not believe that they in no way justify signing this letter and promoting this message.

I am reacting to what you are doing now and the content of this heinous open letter. I find it despicable and an inslut to all of those who protested.

Enjoy your future with your new best friends: Tony Perkins and Matt Barber. As I said, you have lost me forever.

Neon Genesis
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I just don’t understand why BTB can’t give up this issue. The mainstream media has already moved on. Most other gay blogs have moved on and are reporting on more important issues, like a lesbian woman in Nigeria who’s family was killed because she’s gay but is about to be forced back to Nigeria because she’s an immigrant. Yet apparently it’s the “rights” of a rich white male cisgender heterosexual Christian that gets BTB concerned about enough to sign this petition and try to divide the gay community over a non-issue nobody cares about anymore.

Hypatia's Girl
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

(apologies, I never would have gotten into this argument if I’d known how busy I’d be these last two days)

First — Lord_Byron articulates better than I could the fact that a civil tone does not turn bigotry into respect. Just as someone’s anger at being harmed does not destroy that person argument as to why that harm was wrong.

There is too much false equivalence between actively supporting and contributing to harm to politically underprivileged groups and suffering consequences for committing that harm. Those are two different ethical questions. And, perhaps more importantly, we are dealing with two different levels of political power, visibility, and efficacy. People who oppose marriage equality have the upper hand, that’s why we are confronted with 30 something mini-DOMAs. If the LBGT community were similarly politically situated to those who would discriminate against us, we would not be in the position we are now. But because we’re not Thrasymachus, might does not necessarily equal might.

Rob Tisinai — You claim that there is a fundamental difference between opposition to Eich and opposition to Chick fil A. And that Eich is being punished for something that is not related to job performance. Please tell me how actively supporting and furthering discrimination is not directly related to job performance?

In the April 10th piece you also state that opposition to marriage equality “is not proof-positive of hatred and bigotry.” While I will grant you that it could be ignorance and not hatred — how is actively opposing my right to have my marriage treated equally with respect to others’ marriages not bigotry? And while some people react positively to being led down a primrose path, other people react only when they suffer negative consequences for their bigotry.

There is room for multiple approaches in any fight for basic civil equality. We need both peacemakers and we need people who are willing to speak out against all forms of discrimination. Delivering cookies to our enemies alone will not win us full citizenship.

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I reject vehemently any arguments that presume that the way that we treat people should be based on race, gender, orientation, financial status, power, privilege, or faith.

Hypatia\'s Girl
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Quiddity —

re: idiotic speech.

We ought to be able to acknowledge that we live in a world that is populated by facts, and some basic political and juridical rights. Prop 8 (and all marriage equality bans) obviously violated basic political and juridical rights of LGBT citizens, AND stood in opposition to facts. Holding a belief firmly does not make it a correct belief.

You claim that it is inherent in the design of politics to demonstrably harm and exclude citizens?

“Re your [Hypatia’s Girl] ‘Eich’s actions demonstrably contributed to harm and political exclusion of LGBT citizens’. That’s what happens in politics. Is that not to be allowed (by sanctioning individuals)?”

I don’t really know what you’re claiming here? Ostensibly the aim of politics should not be actively harming the citizens.

You seem to be arguing that while the beneficiaries of donations can be held responsible for harm, those who actively give material support should be exempt from responsibility for their actions. You also seem to be claiming that a reasonable person would not know that Prop 8 was specifically designed to harm LGBT people. This is a claim that I cannot accept. It is clear that the State recognizing my marriage has no influence on recognition of yours. The anti-marriage-equality folks wrap silliness around harm, neither are good positions to defend.

Re my noting the racists, homophobes, and anti-feminists who are signatories as being in strange company with a site I enjoy for its chronicling the history of the fight for LGBT rights — a. we would not be where we are today without angry lesbians, gays, bisexuals, drag queens, and trans* people — this is evidenced several times a week by the same people who have signed this condemnation of protest (because uncivil). That deserves comment.

b. One can draw conclusions from past behaviors – several of the people on the list have established histories opposing, and actively working against the rights of politically underprivileged groups. Their support should raise red flags.

And, relatedly, what right, based on your overall critique of my argument, do you ground claiming that Eich was subject to a witch-hunt, but that Prop 8 and its supporters weren’t engaged in a much more successful and harmful witch hunt?

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Hi Hypatia. You’re asking me to explain why Eich’s donation isn’t directly related to his job performance, but I haven’t seen a convincing explanation of why it is.

A couple other points. Am I really guilty of not speaking out against discrimination? Even with Eich and Anderson and Lopez, I’ve spoken out against their discriminatory views. And while I really do like your statement, “Delivering cookies to our enemies alone will not win us full citizenship,” I can’t say that my work here can possibly be described as “delivering cookies to our enemies alone.”

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Timothy said “I reject vehemently any arguments that presume that the way that we treat people should be based on race, gender, orientation, financial status, power, privilege, or faith.”.

So do I. I also think we should treat people differently depending on whether or not they harm innocent people. Those that seek to oppress others and deny them equal rights don’t deserve the same consideration as people who seek to treat everyone equally.

I don’t hear you defending that teacher I posted about who was fired for being a racist. I doubt you’d be criticizing a person who was fired for contributing to the KKK and advocating that blacks be denied the same rights whites have.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

That last sentence should have read: “I doubt you’d be criticizing the firing of someone who was fired for contributing to the KKK and advocating that blacks be denied the same rights whites have.

esurience
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Yet again there’s a completely failure to say the most basic things you would need to say in service of your argument that there was something wrong with Eich’s ouster.

Is it ever okay, when considering the suitability of a person for the position of CEO, to consider things that happen outside of work?

The only way to make sense of most of the pro-Eich arguments is if they believed the answer to that question was ‘no.’ But I doubt very much they would answer that question ‘no’ if they’d bother to answer it. And if they really did answer ‘no’, it would only take a few hypothetical questions before that answer was exposed as a lie.

If your answer to this question is ‘yes’ — that it is okay to consider factors outside of work — then the follow-up question is: What is it okay to consider? By what criteria do we decide what is okay and what is not okay?

These things have to be the start of any pro-Eich argument. And yet I can’t find them anywhere in the arguments I’ve read.

I don’t know how you can write so many words while completely failing to address the most basic and central issues of this case.

Kevin P
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, maybe Eich’s donation wasn’t directly related to his job performance but his reaction and subsequent actions after it gained attention such did. He could and should have handled the situation differently. But he handled it poorly and was proving to be too much of a distraction from the mission of Mozilla. He realized he wouldn’t be able to effectively lead as CEO with all the controversy. The board agreed and accepted his resignation.

Besides, one major aspect of a CEO’s job performance is effectively leading your employees. If numerous employees, both straight and gay, expressed concerns and doubts about his leadership skills and views, isn’t that affecting his performance? How can he properly lead if many of his employees did have faith in him?

Hypatia's Girl
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Eich’s donation was an act that contributed to harm to his employees. Employees have an interest in not being harmed. Therefore, the (documented) concern that Mozilla employees had with his elevation to CEO with regard to their safety in the workplace was a concern with how he would perform his job.

I apologize for being unclear and for implying that you, or any individual associated with this site, was interested in only providing cookies to enemies. It is good to have those who have the patience to reward small improvements, and to reach out in education. So yes, the fact that people sat down and tried to reason with Eich is invaluable. However, we also need sticks to complement our carrots. It is unfair to ask marginalized people to be unfailingly pleasant to those who actively harm us.

Just as it is not my job as a woman to stop and explain why catcalling is way uncool and harms my sense of freedom in the world (and there are some who will only learn through seeing the anger), nor is it our job as LGBT citizens to unfailingly calmly explain why we deserve equal rights. What this petition calls for is the suppression of our anger. That is neither just, nor ultimately a winning solution.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

esuriance, I did address that implicitly in a previous post:

I can’t argue that a person’s private beliefs are irrelevant to their work. I remember collaborating with a tenured University of Chicago professor to create an online course, and one day he confided in me that he got a pit in his stomach every time a black student walked into his clasroom because, “I know they just won’t get it.” And I thought, You have no business being a teacher.

I didn’t go into details at the time because I thought it was clear, but what’s implicit is the notion that a person with a clear bias against a group’s ability should not be placed in a position of authority over members of that group, especially when it comes to evaluating their performance. You can argue that Eich’s donation indicates a distorted view of how well LGBT employees will be able to do their jobs, but I don’t see that as a slam dunk.

Stephen
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, did you then write this letter? That seems to be what you’re saying. Part of the problem with it is its anonymous tone of privilege speaking down to the rest of us. That’s never something I get from your posts here so I’m surprised. It makes me think of David Blankenhorn lamenting the lack of marriage respect from the Poors.

I’d be interested to know how many of the signatories are under 30. I’m guessing… 0?

Timothy, I think the issue is that an exception is being made for orientation. That if we were talking about anti-Semitism or white supremacy there would be no issue. Many of us feel that anti-gay animus still gets a free pass and that this letter, or whatever it’s supposed to be, helps to perpetuate that. Its themes have already been taken up by Bill O’Reilly. I don’t think anyone would doubt the sincere good intentions of any of the three of you. And let me again reiterate how much I value this blog. I check out the updates first thing every morning as I sit with my first cup of coffee. And though I remain perplexed with the gay-bar theme I’m often surprised and touched by the historical items I find.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Kevin, you raise a number of good points, points I agree with. I’ve previously written:

For instance, your advocacy of certain views outside the workplace might ruin your effectiveness on the job. I thought it was perfectly reasonable for Bank of America to tell viciously anti-gay Frank Turek, You can’t publish books and go on the radio maligning an entire segment of our workforce and then expect us to hire you to conduct trust-building exercises with them, for fuck’s sake! (Not a direct quote.)

But as I noted in my first comment on this thread, many people called for Eich’s resignation on the basis of the donation alone, apart from his handling of the situation or the loss of employee support, and that’s what this letter addresses.

Hypatia's Girl
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob Tisinai, if the professor should have been questioned as to his fitness for authority based on a feeling of dismay/disgust/etc, (which as an academic I 100% believe he should be), why shouldn’t Rich fitness for authority be questioned based on the affirmative actions he chose to make to further the denial of full citizenship to some of his employees?

We suspect the professor because we know that he will likely grade black students lower, discipline them more harshly, and generally negatively impact their ability to perform in the classroom, even if he is unaware of how deeply those prejudices are rooted.

Eich not only held a discriminatory view, but also overtly acted on his belief that members of the LGBT community did not warrant full citizenship. This is an easier claim than the professor, who could at least acknowledge his prejudice as prejudice and hopefully work against it. Eich has not shown that he understands that his action was wrong, and so we cannot hope for improvement.

RainbowPhoenix
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I’m curious. How exactly can you respectfully say to someone “You are inferior to me, and the law needs to discriminate against you because otherwise my sense of superiority would be harmed.”

homer
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I’ll ask again, for years BTB has been demanding that NOM release the donors for its political campaigns in Maine, Iowa, and Washington. Over and over again.

For what purpose?

The only legitimate reason to want to see those lists is to publicly shame and humiliate the donors, most likely in an effort to stop them from donating to other anti-gay campaigns.

So tell me, Jim, Timothy, and Rob- why you are not hypocrites for demanding the names of the people donating to NOM.

Very curious if you will even post this, since the other time I brought up the NOM donor issue, it was removed.

Hypatia's Girl
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I don’t understand how opposition to full citizenship (e.g. support for denial of marriage recognition) is not dispositive of an unacceptable bias against that group? Especially in the case of prop 8 which was focused on taking away established rights.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Hypatia’s Girl, I do enjoy your contributions here and I do think you make a strong case, but ultimately it’s contradicted by my personal experience with some of those who oppose marriage equality. I’ve encountered quite a few through blogging, through door-to-door canvassing, through family, and through work.

Some obviously do believe that gays are inferior people, but not all of them. In fact, much of the movement we’ve seen since 2008 comes from people recognizing that their acceptance of gay people as full human beings does contradict their opposition to same sex marriage. If these folks were all inveterate bigots, we wouldn’t see such rapid change.

Everyone holds contradictory views to some degree. We’ve started winning elections by pointing out those contradictions and pushing people to resolve them.

Kevin P
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, based on how I read the letter it seems to be aimed at everyone who had issues with Eich, not just those who called for his resignation based on the donation alone (It seems like the opinions and concerns of the numerous Mozilla employees who had issues with Eich becoming CEO are being dismissed – they had a direct stake in him becoming CEO; their voices shouldn’t be ignored). But maybe I am reading too much into it.

And maybe its because several of the signatories, particularly Andrew Sullivan and William Saletan have published numerous articles that basically said gays were acting just as badly as the religious right over this issue and that everyone who wanted Eich to resign were conducting witch hunts and bringing out the pitchforks. Instead of asking for dialogue, they seemed intent on dismissing and scorning “lefties” and gay people who had a problem with Eich. Not a great way to start dialogue honestly.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I’m curious. How exactly can you respectfully say to someone “You are inferior to me, and the law needs to discriminate against you because otherwise my sense of superiority would be harmed.”

I don’t think you can.

RainbowPhoenix
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

That’s not what this deplorable open letter claims.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, based on how I read the letter it seems to be aimed at everyone who had issues with Eich, not just those who called for his resignation based on the donation alone

I didn’t get that from the statement, Kevin, and I wouldn’t have signed if I interpeted it that way. In fact, the letter explicitly endorses attempts to “criticize and demolish” the arguments of our opponents.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rainbow, can you point out where? The letter acknowledges that not all our opponents are respectful.

RainbowPhoenix
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

“Not all are disrespectful” carries the implication that some are respectful. But their entire argument rests on the basis that we are inferior to them, which you just acknowledged is disrespectful.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Folks, I do have a job, and my commenting so much in the past few hours means I’ll have to work into the evening, so I’ll have to step away for a while (though my resolutions on that score have a poor history).

esurience
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob Tisinai,

That doesn’t address it at all. You’re judging the professor by what you think might happen while he’s on the job. You’re only using what happened outside-the-job as evidence of what you think might happen on the job.

I’m asking whether it’s ever okay to judge the suitability of a candidate for CEO by things that happen outside the job? To be clear, I’m stipulating here that it won’t directly impact their work. If it did impact their work (or we could argue that we’d be reasonably justified in believing it would), we could simply consider that directly.

It seems to me so far your answer really is ‘no’. There is absolutely nothing a CEO could do outside of work that should prohibit them from being in the position of CEO — unless it could be demonstrated it would likely impact their on-the-job performance.

I’m ready to start bringing up the hypothetical examples if your answer is really ‘no.’ I don’t think you’ll last long.

Hypatia's Girl
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, first, thank you.

I think we’re talking past each other. Some people are swayed by door to door, calm debate – and that is an important and difficult talent. But it is not the only route, as this site’s excellent histories show us. It is reasonable to be angry at overt discrimination. And it it reasonable to voice that anger. Mozilla could have chosen to power through, like other companies have (I mean, god, Dan Snyder is still employed). But Mozilla didn’t see that as the best option.

This is a good thing. Between court victories and polling victories, the LGBT community can exercise a certain amount of public unity, which is a particular kind of political power. That’s why the professional homophobes are so mad, we are able to appeal to people’s broader sense of justice better than they are.

Kevin P
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

“In fact, the letter explicitly endorse attempts to “criticize and demolish” the arguments of our opponents.”

But people were criticizing Eich, for his donation, for his lack of empathy, for his refusal to answer questions about his views, for how the law he supported, Prop 8, negatively affected thousands. He then resigned because the controvesary would affect his role as CEO. And those people who were criticizing him were blamed for it. They were accused of getting him fired, of infringing on free speech, of conducting witchunts, of being intolerant (by some of the very people who signed that letter I might add). They were accused of punishing him for his views.

I guess who will never agree on this subject. This letter just seems more of a “Bad gay people, bad – you should behave” lecture more than a call for dialogue. That’s just how I interpret it – you interpreted it differently so that is fine.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Lord, I’m back already.

esuriance, my reply does address what you asked (“Is it ever okay, when considering the suitability of a person for the position of CEO, to consider things that happen outside of work?”). I’ve shown that I think it is.

You’ve refined your question, though, and it’s a fair question (“Is it ever okay, when considering the suitability of a person for the position of CEO, to consider things that happen outside of work, when they have no possible impact on work?”).

I would need to see those hypotheticals. I might end up arguing that many of the DO have on-the-job implications (for instance, a history of criminal activity).

But seeing those hypotheticals would be valuable and certainly could advance my thinking, so feel free to offer them. I just won’t be able to respond for a bit.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rainbow Phoenix said “I’m curious. How exactly can you respectfully say to someone “You are inferior to me, and the law needs to discriminate against you because otherwise my sense of superiority would be harmed.”.

You win the thread.

Rob said “Hypatia’s Girl, I do enjoy your contributions here and I do think you make a strong case, but ultimately it’s contradicted by my personal experience with some of those who oppose marriage equality. I’ve encountered quite a few through blogging, through door-to-door canvassing, through family, and through work.

Some obviously do believe that gays are inferior people, but not all of them.”.

If you don’t believe gay people deserve equality it necessarily follows that you believe they are inferior. There is no way to respectfully say somone should be denied the same rights you have.

StraightGrandmother
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Not feeling well enough today to respond, but will circle back here tomorrow. Before I respond I have to go look up the definition of Sedition.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Priya, if you want to look at the second half of my message to Hypatia’s Girl and address that, I’ll be happy to check it out when my work load allows.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rainbow Phoneix said “I’m curious. How exactly can you respectfully say to someone “You are inferior to me, and the law needs to discriminate against you because otherwise my sense of superiority would be harmed.”.”

Rob said “I don’t think you can.

RainbowPhoenix said “That’s not what this deplorable open letter claims.:

Rob said “Rainbow, can you point out where? The letter acknowledges that not all our opponents are respectful.”

Right here: “As a viewpoint, opposition to gay marriage is not a punishable offense. It can be expressed hatefully, but it can also be expressed respectfully.”

The letter also nonsensically said “Sustaining a liberal society demands a culture that welcomes robust debate, vigorous political advocacy, and a decent respect for differing opinions”.

Not all opinions are deserving of respect. No opinion that an innocent group of people don’t deserve the same rights as everyone else deserves respect. It may or may not be politically advantageious to treat disrepsectful opinions with respect but certainly such opinions don’t deserve respect.

The letter also dishonestly said “But we must also acknowledge that disagreement is not, itself, harm or hate.”.

True enough, but that statement falsely implies that disagreeing that gays and lesbians deserve equal rights is not, itself, harm or hate. That is untrue.

If I say chocolate icecream is best and you say no vanilla is, that disagreement is not harm or hate. But if you say innocent people don’t deserve the same right to marry that I have there is no getting around the fact that that IS harmful and hateful.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob said “Priya, if you want to look at the second half of my message to Hypatia’s Girl and address that, I’ll be happy to check it out when my work load allows.”.

I already read the second half of your message to Hypatia’s girl. My position is unchanged – if a person believes gays don’t deserve equal rights then it necessarily follows that they believe gays are inferior – all of them.

You said “Some obviously do believe that gays are inferior people, but not all of them. In fact, much of the movement we’ve seen since 2008 comes from people recognizing that their acceptance of gay people as full human beings does contradict their opposition to same sex marriage.”.

You make my point for me. If recognizing that their acceptance of gay people as full human beings contradicts their opposition to same sex marriage then they clearly were thinking gays were inferior. It is only this recognition that they were thinking gays were inferior and a desire to stop seeing gays as inferior that lead them to stop opposing same sex marriage.

esurience
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob Tisinai,

A hypothetical:

A CEO donated to a campaign to mandate presenting ID when voting. When questioned by a reporter on his donation, and presented with evidence that these voter-ID laws disproportionately impact the ability to vote along racial lines, he replies: “If those black people are too stupid or lazy to get an ID, perhaps they shouldn’t be voting.”

His company has a non-discrimination policy and does employ African-Americans (who all have IDs of course, since they are not stupid or lazy — they were hired, after all). There is no evidence that he has ever discriminated in hiring or firing based on race, and he treats all the black people in his personal life in a friendly way.

The Lauderdale
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

“FREEDOM TO MARRY, FREEDOM TO DISSENT: WHY WE MUST HAVE BOTH

The last few years have brought an astonishing moral and political transformation in the American debate over same-sex marriage and gay equality. This has been a triumph not only for LGBT Americans but for the American idea. But the breakthrough has brought with it rapidly rising expectations among some supporters of gay marriage that the debate should now be over. As one advocate recently put it, “It would be enough for me if those people who are so ignorant or intransigent as to still be anti-gay in 2014 would simply shut up.”

The signatories of this statement are grateful to our friends and allies for their enthusiasm. But we are concerned that recent events, including the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla under pressure because of an anti-same-sex- marriage donation he made in 2008, signal an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree. We reject that deeply illiberal impulse, which is both wrong in principle and poor as politics.

We support same-sex marriage; many of us have worked for it, in some cases for a large portion of our professional and personal lives. We affirm our unwavering commitment to civic and legal equality, including marriage equality. At the same time, we also affirm our unwavering commitment to the values of the open society and to vigorous public debate—the values that have brought us to the brink of victory.”

-.-.-.-
So far, no disagreement.
-.-.-.-

“DIVERSITY IS THE NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF LIBERTY

The gay rights struggle is about freedom and equality for all. The best and most free society is one that allows the largest number to live true to their core beliefs and identities. It is a society that allows its members to speak their minds and shape their own aspirations.”

-.-.-.-
Groovy. I like it.
-.-.-.-

“The natural consequence of true liberty is diversity. Unless a society can figure out a way to reach perfect agreement, conflicting views will be inevitable. Any effort to impose conformity, through government or any other means, by punishing the misguided for believing incorrectly will impoverish society intellectually and oppress it politically.”

-.-.-.-
Except there are some unbelievably offensive views that *are* going to cause acrimony and pain, and that are going to net an unfavorable response for those who express them. This, I think, you know.
-.-.-.-

“The test of our commitment to liberal principles is not our eagerness to hear ideas we share, but our willingness to consider seriously those we oppose.”

-.-.-.-
I’ve been reading BBT for a long time, and you guys have made more than a few posts poking fun at the occasional bullpucky, so I know you don’t believe this is true across the board.
-.-.-.-

“PROGRESS COMES FROM PERSUASION

There is no evidence that Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who resigned over his $1,000 donation to California’s Proposition 8 campaign, believed in or practiced any form of discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees. That would be a very different case. He was pressured to leave because of personal political action he took at a time when a majority of the American public shared his view. And while he acknowledged the pain his donation caused, he did not publicly “recant,” which some suggested he should have done as the price of keeping his job.

So the issue is cleanly presented: Is opposition to same-sex marriage by itself, expressed in a political campaign, beyond the pale of tolerable discourse in a free society? We cannot wish away the objections of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions, or browbeat them into submission. Even in our constitutional system, persuasion is a minority’s first and best strategy. It has served us well and we should not be done with it.”

-.-.-.-
I just can’t agree that the issue is so cleanly or clearly presented In This Case. Even as I agree that a significant portion of the backlash was as you say (it would be silly to deny it; I can see as much in comments to this post and others that BBT has made re: Eich), above and beyond an intolerance of Eich’s views by posters at BBT and elsewhere, he simply does not seem to have been cut out for a position as CEO for Mozilla. Criticism within the company began in 2012 and continued till the present. Annoying as I found the whole OKCupid thing, it wasn’t just “outside agitators”: Eich did not have the trust of people within the company, his personal style was not conducive to winning their confidence, and it needed to be for him to perform successfully as CEO.

http://www.teamrarebit.com/blog/2014/04/03/a-sad-victory/

http://commonspace.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/mozilla-is-human/

http://www.cnet.com/news/mozilla-ceo-gay-marriage-firestorm-could-hurt-firefox-cause-q-a/
-.-.-.-

“FREE SPEECH IS A VALUE, NOT JUST A LAW

Much of the rhetoric that emerged in the wake of the Eich incident showed a worrisome turn toward intolerance and puritanism among some supporters of gay equality—not in terms of formal legal sanction, to be sure, but in terms of abandonment of the core liberal values of debate and diversity.”

-.-.-.-
My thoughts about Eich’s unfitness aside, I do agree with this.
-.-.-.-

“Sustaining a liberal society demands a culture that welcomes robust debate, vigorous political advocacy, and a decent respect for differing opinions. People must be allowed to be wrong in order to continually test what is right. We should criticize opposing views, not punish or suppress them.”

-.-.-.-
Again, there are some unbelievably offensive views that *are* going to cause acrimony and pain, and that are going to net an unfavorable response for those who express them.
-.-.-.-

“The freedom—not just legal but social—to express even very unpopular views is the engine that propelled the gay-rights movement from its birth against almost hopeless odds two generations ago. A culture of free speech created the social space for us to criticize and demolish the arguments against gay marriage and LGBT equality. For us and our advocates to turn against that culture now would be a betrayal of the movement’s deepest and most humane values.

DISAGREEMENT SHOULD NOT BE PUNISHED

We prefer debate that is respectful, but we cannot enforce good manners. We must have the strength to accept that some people think misguidedly and harmfully about us. But we must also acknowledge that disagreement is not, itself, harm or hate.”

-.-.-.-
The backlash against Eich was punishment, and his donation to Prop 8 didn’t harm anyone. Is this a fair characterization of your views on the matter? In all seriousness, some elucidation on the definitions of “harm” and “punishment” might be helpful.
-.-.-.-

“As a viewpoint, opposition to gay marriage is not a punishable offense. It can be expressed hatefully, but it can also be expressed respectfully. We strongly believe that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong, but the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job. Inflicting such consequences on others is sadly ironic in light of our movement’s hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox opinions.”

-.-.-.-
(I already realize this is a flip response, but…) I thought they were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for being gay, bi and trans.
-.-.-.-

“ENFORCING ORTHODOXY HURTS EVERYONE

LGBT Americans can and do demand to be treated fairly. But we also recognize that absolute agreement on any issue does not exist. Franklin Kameny, one of America’s earliest and greatest gay-rights proponents, lost his job in 1957 because he was gay. Just as some now celebrate Eich’s departure as simply reflecting market demands, the government justified the firing of gay people because of “the possible embarrassment to, and loss of public confidence in . . . the Federal civil service.” Kameny devoted his life to fighting back. He was both tireless and confrontational in his advocacy of equality, but he never tried to silence or punish his adversaries.

Now that we are entering a new season in the debate that Frank Kameny helped to open, it is important to live up to the standard he set. Like him, we place our confidence in persuasion, not punishment. We believe it is the only truly secure path to equal rights.”

-.-.-.-
Nice. I agree with this, but again, in the final analysis, I do not think the Eich case illustrates the premise behind this statement with the clarity that the signatories seem to believe it does. As Rob Tisinai says in the above comments,

“I do recognize that many factors contributed to Eich’s resignation, and that protests from outside the company might not have been the proximate cause for his departure. I also recognize, however, that many people, including some commenters at BTB, did think his Prop 8 donation was sufficient reason to demand his resignation. That’s what this letter addresses.”

While I can agree with the second recognition, I think the first recognition warrants more weight than either yourself, Jim Burroway or Timothy Kincaid have thus far given it, and I think that is of a piece with the general disconnect at BBT on the whole business of Eich and Mozilla.
-.-.-.-

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

esuriance:

“If those black people are too stupid or lazy to get an ID, perhaps they shouldn’t be voting.”

See my comment on the racist professor and why he shouldn’t be a teacher or in a position of evaluating the performance of black students.

Adam
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I guess what it comes down to is that your BTB-ers who signed this think that spending $1,000 in an effort to obliterate the fundamental, constitutional rights of LGBT citizens is mere belief or opinion. Is that the case? Could you answer that with a direct yes or no?

The whole petition is about belief. I have yet to see one single example of anyone being fired because the are against same sex marriage or because they disagree with those who support it. Not one.

And let me say what other haven’t yet. You signed on to a petition that equates what happened to Frank Kameny–who was fired by the government for simply being gay, and who was one of our movement’s earliest honest-to-god heroes–with Eich because he decided to resign after being unable to manage the fallout for his discrimination against people just like Frank. That is simply disgusting to me. Disingenuous, disrespectful, and disgusting.

Rob Tisinai
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

No, Pryia, I don’t make your case for you. The whole point is that some of them weren’t thinking of gay people as inferior. It was the recognition that this was incompatible with their opposition to same-sex marriage that forced some of them to change their minds.

More generally, you seem to be saying, “If X logically implies Y, then those who think X is true must think Y is true.”

My point is that I don’t agree with that all. People don’t necessarily hold logically compatible views. In fact, I doubt I’ve ever met anyone whose entire belief system was perfectly logical. People in general are capable of holding wildly contradictory beliefs.

That’s why I don’t accept your argument that everyone opposed to marriage equality thinks gay people are inferior. Again: if they all did, we wouldn’t have seen such rapid progress.

RainbowPhoenix
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

People are not always aware of the implications of their beliefs. They may claim that they don’t have anything against us, but then they turn around and start arguing about how us having legal recognition will harm society, about how we’re bad parents, and how they don’t want their children to be corrupted. They may try to dress it up in pretty words, but the base argument is that we aren’t as good as they are and need to be treated accordingly. Some people can be reasoned with, some claim to be the victim when this implication is pointed out. But no matter how it’s masked, it’s still there.

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Lauderdale

“As a viewpoint, opposition to gay marriage is not a punishable offense. It can be expressed hatefully, but it can also be expressed respectfully. We strongly believe that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong, but the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job. Inflicting such consequences on others is sadly ironic in light of our movement’s hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox opinions.”

-.-.-.-
(I already realize this is a flip response, but…) I thought they were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for being gay, bi and trans.
-.-.-.-

I wondered if anyone would comment about this. (And thank you for reading the statement and commenting on its contents).

In my opinion, the answer is mostly, no. Gay men and women are seldom fired for being gay, even in very religious settings.

Few are even fired for engaging in “homosexual acts”.

What most gay and lesbian people were fired for is the temerity to think that these acts (or their orientation) was not despicable.

While sometimes acts alone were enough, and in some instances simply being suspected of same-sex attraction, most anti-gay positions are based on the perceived sinfulness, not the sin. The religious, in particular, are infuriated by the lack of repentance and the secular are often “what you do in private is your business”.

If a gay person is confronted and immediately denounces both the idea that they are gay and goes on an anti-gay tirade, that’s confirmation of the confronter’s beliefs.

But openly gay people – those who both are homosexual in orientation AND who feel no shame, self-loathing, nor ideological or religious justification for their own oppresion, they are the ones “not safe around children” or “likely to alienate customers” or “unsuited for the job”.

To put it in easily visualize terms, have you ever met a Southern Baptist church organist?

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

esurience

Let’s consider your hypothetical supporter of voter IDs.

However, suppose that instead of saying “If those black people are too stupid or lazy to get an ID, perhaps they shouldn’t be voting.” he had said “that is unfortunate, but I believe that the steps to obtain an ID are a very small burden and that the security of our democratic process is of sufficient importance that this is a necessity.”

Would his support of voter IDs, in an of itself, illustrate his unworthiness of a CEO position at a company?

esurience
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob Tisinai,

Yes, I’ve already read your comment about the teacher (and just re-read it). I don’t see how it applies here. In that situation you have a teacher not thinking black students are intellectually capable of understanding the course material, which is likely going to impact the effort he puts into those students. It will also likely bias his grading (he’ll look for more flaws).

In the hypothetical I gave, the CEO (or CEO candidate), is only referring to the black people who do not have an ID, and won’t get one in order to vote. He’s not calling all black people “lazy or stupid”, only the ones who don’t have an ID and won’t be getting one in order to vote.

In what way do you think that would impact his on-the-job performance?

You’ve singled out the comment this hypothetical CEO said as being the problem, rather than the policy that he supported. But if Eich had actually entered into a dialogue about marriage equality, the solution that you wanted, don’t you think it’s almost certain Eich would’ve said something very offensive in defense of denying the freedom to marry?

I haven’t seen an anti-marriage-equality case yet that doesn’t rely on thinking offensive things about gay people and gay relationships.

And if you want to encourage dialogue, why would punishing people for what they say in defense of their positions be better than punishing people for what their positions are?

I would argue for the opposite. That would should be less sensitive to the words people use when defending odious positions, and more sensitive to the holding of odious positions in themselves.

It seems to me that’s a better model for encouraging dialogue.

RainbowPhoenix
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Well, Timothy, that was probably the most disgusting piece of sophistry and victim-blaming I’ve seen in quite some time.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, you’re talking about cognitive dissonance. People hold contradictory beliefs by compartmentalizing their thoughts. At times they may like to think of themselves as believing in equality and at other times they oppose equality and at those times they oppose equality because they think gays are inferior. They change their minds because at some point they realize they’ve been lying to themselves when they told themselves they believe in treating gays equally. They realize that at times they haven’t been believing that, they stop compartmentalizing their thoughts and maybe think they really do want to treat gays equally and they stop opposing marriage equality.

Its never that they were completely free of malice towards gays or the thought that they are inferior. The only way you can believe gays don’t deserve equality is if you think at some level they are inferior. They were only lying to themselves when they went to their other thought compartment and told themselves, I treat gays as equals therefore I’m a good person.

esurience
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid,

The hypothetical is being raised to try and figure out what exactly your criteria is for saying that pressuring Eich out of the job was wrong. I’m trying to determine whether your criteria is truly narrow (there is almost nothing that would disqualify a CEO unless it would likely affect his on-the-job performance), or whether it is just inconsistent. And if it’s narrow, what kinds of things would meet that criteria.

As for me, I have no problem with companies applying a wide range of criteria in who they choose to be their leader. It is, after all, a leadership position.

I would have no problem with a company refusing someone as CEO because they donated or supported an immoral cause.

patrick
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

In Wednesday’s daily agenda this caught my eye:

“Noting that Sen. Trent Lott had lost his post as Senate majority leader over remarks praising staunch segregationist Sen. Stromm Thurmond’s (R-SC) 1948 presidential bid … ”

He lost his job simply because he praised someone who had currently unpopular views.

Eich acted to take away the rights of gays and lesbians. Yet we are supposed to believe he would not treat his lgbt employees unfairly. If he was willing to strip us of our rights, he most certainly would treat us unfairly because he does not see us as equal.

Just as Sen. Lott could not be trusted to treat African-American citizens fairly because of his praise for a segregationist, we have absolutely no reason to think someone who hopes to take away LGBT rights would or even could treat his LGBT employees fairly. He clearly does think we are inferior people.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

“As a viewpoint, opposition to gay marriage is not a punishable offense. It can be expressed hatefully, but it can also be expressed respectfully. We strongly believe that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong, but the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job. Inflicting such consequences on others is sadly ironic in light of our movement’s hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox opinions.”

Nonsense. Gays weren’t fired, harrassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox oppinions. They were treated that way because buttsex is icky and/or the oppressor was battling their own same sex attractions they can’t accept and the presence of people who engage in same sex sex makes it harder for them to keep suppressing their natural desires.

Timothy is simply wrong about this and falsely claiming gays weren’r persecuted for being gay because he wants to pretend the firing of Eich is the same as the firing of gays – it isn’t. Let’s not forget, Eich is guilty of promoting harm of innocent people whereas the gays who were fired hadn’t harmed anyone. It is fair to punish someone who seeks to harm innocent people, it is not fair to punish gays who are innocent of wrong-doing.

If what Timothy said were true, that gays were fired merely for believing there is nothing wrong with being gay, we’d have seen an endless parade of gay-accepting heterosexuals being fired for being pro-gay yet this is practically, if not totally, unheard of.

Timothy can’t see beyond his own deeply religious upbringing and thinks the types of thinking he’s familiar with is typical of all or most Americans when in reality most Americans aren’t that religious and don’t see everything through the lens of religion as he seems to.

Richard Rush
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn, I always admire your ability to surgically slice through bullshit.

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

esurience,

Speaking for myself, not the others, I have little sympathy for Eich. For me, this isn’t about Eich. It’s about us.

Not everyone who called for Eich’s removal did so solely because of this donation. And I doubt that this was the sole criterion on which he determined that he would be more distraction than worth.

But some did. Well, many did.

The blogosphere was aswirl with those who immediately insisted that due to a 2008 contribution in support of Proposition 8, Brendan Eich was deemed to be unqualified to be CEO at Mozilla.

It is those attitudes, in particular, that I find unreasonable.

I recognize that this is very painful to some and that there are those on whom Prop 8 had a very real impact. I recognize that some will never be able to forgive or let go. I can’t fault those who said, “well, I can’t work for you”.

For the most part, I’ve participated very little in this conversation. And I had no initial plans to write about Eich. But when Jim became angered at the inflexibility and petty meanness of some of the voices, and when he wrote his first objection, I found his words were consistent with what I believe.

I do, at some point, have something I want to say – in a bigger picture. Here are some partial thoughts.

Enough time has passed. We eventually won this battle and we can see that we will win this war. So now it is time to decide what kind of victors we will be.

Will we tear down the towers, burn the villages, rape the women, stab the children and sow the fields with salt? Obviously, not literally. Nor are many voices calling for complete disregard of all of the rights of those who have opposed us.

But will we claim that this is war and to the victors go the spoils? Will we conduct a Reconstruction of the ideological South?

I have read comments on this thread which suggest that the commenters would certainly support the revocation of the right to express views they find objectionable. I have read comments which suggest the idea that social, financial, and legal repercussions are appropriate for those who do not recant their views, that only through total capitulation can one prove worthiness to enjoy employment, or at least certain levels of employment.

I do not want us to go down that road.

I hope that instead we listen to what we have called for – equality, tolerance, a place at the table, a shared social world – search for empathy (which can be hard when we’ve for a long long time thought of these people as “enemies” rather than people), and try to treat others the way we wish that we had been treated.

I know that in some places in this country we now have the political and social power to be unmerciful.

But should we take on all the characteristics that our opponents accuse us of, when their depictions of gay people as “intolerant, dictatorial, and seeking the destruction of others” become true, then we haven’t really won. They have.

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

If what Timothy said were true, that gays were fired merely for believing there is nothing wrong with being gay, we’d have seen an endless parade of gay-accepting heterosexuals being fired for being pro-gay yet this is practically, if not totally, unheard of.

This is a strawman argument.

What I said was:

But openly gay people – those who both are homosexual in orientation AND who feel no shame, self-loathing, nor ideological or religious justification for their own oppresion, they are the ones “not safe around children” or “likely to alienate customers” or “unsuited for the job”.

Did you see the big “AND” there? It was in capitals.

Consider this, You know it to be true: There’s nothing that an anti-gay activist loves more than a self-loathing ex-gay.

It’s not that they’re same-sex attracted (oh, the sad affliction and struggle) or even that they did the buttseks (cuz no one is fooled). No, it’s what they say that matters.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Thanks Richard.

Rob, you’re never going to convince even a significant minority of LGBT people its possible to respectfully believe gays and lesbians don’t deserve the right to marry. Instead of continuing to bang your head against the wall why don’t you try to convince LGBT people the best way to change the minds of bigots is to treat them as though they are respectable.

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

And as to the secular… I grew up in a small town. Everyone knows the effeminate fellow who works at the beauty salon, florist, whatever.

So long as he never says he’s gay, everyone conspires to pretend that they don’t know. But put up a gay flag… that’s a different story.

Perhaps it works differently in Canada.

Adam
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

This was never about views, Tom. I still cannot fathom why you and the rest of the bloggers here have swallowed that false framing so completely. We’re not seeking the revocation of rights to express views, we’re not asking people to recant their views, and we’re not conditioning employment (like we have the power to do it) on views. We just continue to proclaim, and quite loudly and without apology, that it is wholly inappropriate to act on those views to harm us or take away our rights.

You’re tilting at windmills, and for whatever reason, imagine those windmills to be your brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. Enjoying marriage rights in CA the 17 other states is not “winning.” The week of the Eich affair, Mississippi enacted a law to allow businesses to deny us service. Kansas and Arizona passed similar bills. A mayor in SC fired the town’s police chief and drove out the city planner because they were lesbians. It is only from an immense blind spot that you claim we have “won.”

I have immense empathy for people whose views diverge from mine. It is nigh impossible for me to stand in the shoes of someone who would seek to control the power of the government to destroy the rights of others, however. I welcome all comers from the former group, but rightfully deny space at my table to the latter.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, even “ex-gays” admit they’re discriminated against, their expressing the opinion that its wrong to be gay doesn’t insulate them from discrimination. Instead most anti-gay people still don’t want to associate with them because they retain the stigma of gayness despite (supposedly) not having gay sex anymore

And even amongst most of the deeply religious who accept “ex-gays” they believe gay is not who you are, but what you do, so they hate people who have gay sex and some of them think those people who’ve stopped having gay sex are “ex-gay”, not gay, and therefore okay. The people who accept “ex-gays” don’t believe there is such a thing as sexual orientation and in their own minds they fire people precisely because they are gay.

And those deeply religious people who accept “ex-gays” are a minority amongst those who oppose gayness. You said it yourself:

“But openly gay people – those who both are homosexual in orientation AND who feel no shame, self-loathing, nor ideological or religious justification for their own oppresion, they are the ones “not safe around children” or “likely to alienate customers” or “unsuited for the job”.

You can’t on one hand say people are fired for being gay (and something else) and then claim people are seldom fired for being gay. By your own words you state that being gay is (at least part of) the reason for being seen as “not safe around children”, “likely to alienate customers”, or “unsuited for the job”.

So, cut this “people are seldom fired for being gay, even in very religious settings” B.S.

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

Let’s just agree that we lack the ability to converse with each other in a way that expresses ideas and leave it at that.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Timothy said “And as to the secular… I grew up in a small town. Everyone knows the effeminate fellow who works at the beauty salon, florist, whatever.

So long as he never says he’s gay, everyone conspires to pretend that they don’t know. But put up a gay flag… that’s a different story.”.

I don’t buy that for a second. If you act effeminate the vast majority of anti-gay people are going to seek to avoid you.

Of course if a gay person advocates for equality and makes a point of announcing he’s gay he’ll attract stronger opposition than a person who appears gay but doesn’t admit it, but no way will that latter person be accepted by most people who oppose gayness. We’re all familiar with the effeminate heterosexual who’s been abused or loathed for “being” gay.

Priya Lynn
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

“Let’s just agree that we lack the ability to converse with each other in a way that expresses ideas and leave it at that”.

Speak for yourself.

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Very well, I lack the skill to craft words in a way that can express ideas to you.

Randy Potts
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I have not been writing for BTB for very long or very prolifically but I’d like to remind everyone attacking Jim, Rob, and Timothy on this feed that these three have been doing the hard, in the trenches work of confronting the opposition tirelessly for years for no pay and a recognition well below its value. It’s one thing to disagree, as it seems most people commenting do, but it’s another to devalue the purpose of this page by name calling and accusations.

For me personally, when I signed this piece I was thinking about the future more than the present – the details of Eich’s resignation are somewhat unclear but it *is* clear that it’s dangerous to set a precedent wherein anyone who has voted “incorrectly” on a given issue cannot be in a position of leadership.
Specifically, it is simply not reality that someone who voted for Prop 8 has a clear animus against gay people or sees us as inferior. Yes, logically, this would seem to be the case: Prop 8 harmed LGBT families so, therefore, anyone who voted for it decided explicitly to harm LGBT families. The reality, however, is far more complicated: for people in many communities across the country the only direct knowledge of LGBT people comes through television, the internet, the pulpit, and the received wisdom of close friends and family. As long as this is true there will always be people who simply nod their head and go along with the crowd they find themselves in and, sometimes, go so far as to vote for things like Prop 8, never realizing its full implications for LGBT families. I have no idea if Eich fits this category but, until proven otherwise, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s the least we can do in a society with so many different religious and cultural backgrounds.

RainbowPhoenix
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

No, we have not won. Not even remotely. Not when we still don’t have employment or housing protections in most places (leaving aside your utter BS about how “real discrimination” is rare). Not when we make up forty percent of homeless teenagers and twenty percent of homeless adults. Not when we can hardly go a month without hearing about a hate crime or another teenager committing suicide. Not when violence outside of the US is spiking at a terrifying rate.

What I find unreasonable is this idea that when someone attacks us, we’re supposed to roll over and play nice in the face of the abuse like good little f-words; that we’re somehow the bad guy if we fight back. I do not accept that. I do not accept that my basic dignity as a person can be subject to a “reasonable debate”. I refuse to accept being treated as a villain because I voice my discontent with giving my money to a company who chooses someone who hates me to represent them. I refuse to accept responsibility for preventing people who attack me for who I am from feeling bad. I do not accept that hating me is a “sincere belief” any more than I accept the Mark of Cain as a valid excuse for racism.

In both school and on the job, I have seen too many cases of naked bigotry permitted because the bigot “sincerely believes” it and because of “free speech”. I speak from personal experience when I say that that situation, the one you think we should strive for, does not create equality, or tolerance, or empathy. It creates hostility and encourages the undeserved belief of bigots that they have the right to attack anyone they want and we’re not allowed to fight back. The world you seek is the one the rest of us are trying to escape.

Adam
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

And by “Tom,” above I mean “Tim.”

Ben M
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Randy Potts – I think the Eich is such a bad example for you all to make the stand on. Fundamentally, we do not know how Eich voted, only that he took the initiative to donate money to a cause that we have spent YEARS arguing in court was driven by animus.

On a fundamental level how can one support this document but also support the laws punishing the bakers, florists, etc? How is this substantially different then the cab drivers “forced” out of there jobs for not driving cabs with the gay games ads?

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Ben,

I do not favor punishing the florists and bakers.

Randy Potts
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Ben, I agree, we don’t know how Eich voted and, while we were making that animus-based argument for years I would argue that most people were unaware of our efforts. You and I live in a reality constantly reminding us of the animus of Prop 8 but most people don’t. As far as the cab drivers and the Eich affair, I’d say it’s fine for a cab company or Mozilla to state unequivocal support for LGBT people and expect their employees to cooperate. If a driver refuses to drive, he forfeits his employment. Had Eich declared that he would not consider LGBT concerns in his position of leadership it would have been appropriate to ask him to leave. However, the assumption that he is a bigot because of a decision he made in 2008 seems almost religious in its conviction.

Scott Rose
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

@Rob Tisinai: FUCK YOU!

Kevin P
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

“It *is* clear that it’s dangerous to set a precedent wherein anyone who has voted “incorrectly” on a given issue cannot be in a position of leadership.”

Do we want to set a precedent that says if we are uncomfortable with the views of someone in a leadership position, we should just keep quiet? No one is entitled to be a leader – it should be the best person for the job. Most of the times it isn’t. Brandon Eich wasn’t the best person to lead Mozilla. People voiced that opinion. As a result, he stepped down for the good of the company. I do not think this one incident is a slippery slope to a future where Prop 8 donors are put in the stocks. (When politicians vote for something we do not agree with, we can vote them out of office. If a CEO expresses views we do not like, why can’t we do the same by voicing our disagreement?)

And I just don’t understand – if Eich had donated to racist or sexist or anti-Semitic cause, no one would be outraged if he stepped down. Why do we still allow homophobic causes and actions a pass? Ignorance is an explanation for anti-gay behavior but not an excuse.

Ben M
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Timothy – I understand your position on nondiscrimination laws, my experience (in a midsized town with LGBT and racial discrimination) takes me out of an idealized world that everyone can always find a reasonable alternative. Also if a Baker can legally discriminate, why not an ER doc? You argue few are fired for homosexual acts, I would suggest even fewer have been fired (or faced any repercussions) for donating to, much less voting for, Prop 8.

Personally, the issue was out of my mind once mozilla released their commitment to non-discrimination, but I think Eich’s refusal to engage in this was the real failure that drove him out.

Stephen
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Rob, I still want to know: Did you write that letter?

Ben M
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Randy – I’m sick and tired today and I’m not sure I made my point very well. It seems that so many LGBT people have been following the Prop 8, that it is hard to separate out the animus of the campaign from the individual donors and voters. personally I don’t think the average voter gives much thought to marriage equality on a regular basis.

Boris Hirsi
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Tim and Rob: as arbiters of good taste would you be kind enough and enlighten us with your widom: WHAT exactly are we allowed to do to protest? Except giving “benefit of a doubt” and being quiet especially if the person in question is well-connected, white, rich and privileged?

This ill-advised, self-righteous and sanctiminious letter of yours has already caused and will cause irreparable harm in the future.

I agree with Rainbow Phoenix with everything s/he has said but I wish to repeat something that s/he said that I find most important: “…situation, the one you think we should strive for, does not create equality, or tolerance, or empathy. It creates hostility and encourages the undeserved belief of bigots that they have the right to attack anyone they want and we’re not allowed to fight back. The world you seek is the one the rest of us are trying to escape.”

I want to get as far from you and all those who signed this as I can. No-one who protested against Eich deserves this self righteous garbage poured on their backs.

Stephen
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Meanwhile there is the is: http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2014/04/brooklyn-five-ultra-orthodox-jews.html#disqus_thread

Merv
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

@Timothy – Due to its history of official discrimination against gay people, government is responsible for helping create the environment where gay people are discriminated against in the private sphere. Government is therefore responsible for helping remedy the problem they helped create, even if it means prohibiting private parties from discriminating against gay people.

tim lusk
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I have limited time and energy in my life and I have time, for at least the time being, I will not be following this blog. I hate it when I come to a place where talking through issues just makes both sides feel sapped of energy instead of broadened. I respect the right of the writers of this blog to push their views and opinions, after all it is their blog. However, what I have long suspected seems at least to me to be true: rather than look at wonderful power the little people of a corporation mustered to remove someone from leadership of said company who had disrespected their humanity, the writers of this blog attacked the little people and then got very defensive when challenged by their leaders and now this. I grew up watching the same kind of thing happen in the Black Community during the civil rights movement: the members of the community itself pushing down those who would dare to raise their head and stand on their own too feet to call an ace an ace and a bigot a bigot.

Boris Hirsi
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

BTW: I am just curious? Do you have the guts to face Hampton Catlin and his husband with this message face to face? Or ALL those thousands INDIVIDUALS who protested on behalf of their own lives, who raised their own voice instead of taking their marching orders from likes of you.

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Stephen,

The authors of the Statement were not Box Turtle Bulletin writers.

Merv
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Out of curiosity, did any Box Turtle Bulletin contributors refuse to sign the letter?

Timothy Kincaid
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Boris, no I will not be meeting face to face with ALL of the thousands of INDIVIDUALS who called for Eich’s ouster.

Boris Hirsi
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

How droll. And condescending. Like the letter you signed.

Scott Rose
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Neither Jim Kolbe or Ken Mehlman would have even signed the statement if activists did not out them as gay hypocrites and publicly shame them for advancing anti-LGBT policies and legislation.

Scott Rose
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

The overwhelming majority of the signers of that letter are Republicans disingenuously begging LGBT Americans to STFU so that Republican candidates will have better chances. We should all be giving the signers the finger.

tristram
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Jim, Timothy, Rob and Randy – there are a number of aspects of the Statement which I consider inaccurate or poorly stated. However, overall it makes a valid and thoughtful contribution to the discussion in “our community” of the constellation of issues which includes the Eich matter. Thank you for having the courage to sign on to it and to engage the commenters above in a civil, reasoned manner. I hope you will not let all the invective and nastiness dishearten you or discourage you from continuing the great and essential work you do at BTB.

Daniel Francis
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

It is a courageous thing to stand up in favor of your opponents. I applaud you for your work and sticking your neck out like this.

And I made sure I signed the petition.

Neil
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Some people opposed Eich just because he donated to the CA Prop 8 campaign. Other’s raised concerns about how Eich was handling the controversy. Overall there was a sense of a lack of confidence in his appointment as CEO.

He presented a conflict of interest. He fully supported the Mozilla project and all it’s values. Go Eich. But he was explicitly opposed to LGBT equality. Oh, wait. What? He reiterated that opposition to equality as the controversy unfolded. Confusion and controversy reigned.

Eich chose to step down, as far as I can tell, because his expressed views were raising, and would likely never settle, unresolved doubts about his ability to fully represent Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness and diversity.

Disagreement Should Not Be Punished

No, it shouldn’t. But fitness for the position of CEO of a not-for-profit community led organisation should be considered. I’m reading the comments on the whole affair by Executive Chairwoman, Mitchell Baker, and not seeing, “we bowed to pressure from people who objected to Brendan’s Prop 8 donation.”

What she did say was:

Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard.

It may well be true that Brendan Eich would never have let his preference for inequality for LGBT people affect his conduct as CEO of Mozilla. But due to his own currently expressed views, there would always be doubts about his conflict of interest in the matter. That very real appearance of a conflict of interest is what exacerbated that element of the opposition to his appointment founded in his donation to Prop 8.

People objecting to his donation were just one factor in the pressure that led Eich to reconsider the invitation to be CEO. That donation and his opinions about LGBT people undermined confidence in him.

Here in Australia, a State political leader was recently forced to resign because he failed to declare receiving a $3000 bottle of wine from a lobbyist. There’s no evidence that gift affected his decision making as Premier of New South Wales. But the appearance of a conflict of interest made his position untenable. To remain in the job would look like tolerance of corruption.

Similarly, Eich’s donation and subsequent adherence to opposing LGBT equality made his filling the position of CEO look like Mozilla might be tolerating inequality, even though Eich might have all the professional integrity to never allow his opinions to spill over into Mozilla business.

No, Baker accepted the concerns of the Mozilla community that Mozilla’s CEO should meet a higher standard and rise above the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Randy Potts
April 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Ben, I agree, most voters don’t give this issue much thought, and that’s why I maintain that it’s possible to have voted for or donated to Prop 8 without having specific hatred. For those of us directly affected, we’ve given it plenty of thought and realize what seem like obvious contradictions. A lot of other people are getting there, and the polling reflects that.

Bryan
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Randy wrote:

“It *is* clear that it’s dangerous to set a precedent wherein anyone who has voted “incorrectly” on a given issue cannot be in a position of leadership.”

This precedent already exists for every other minority group except for gay people. As many have said again and again, if Eich had donated to a racist, sexist or anti-Semitic cause we would not be having this conversation. The question is whether gays should now be included in this existing precedent. Can someone who agrees with this ridiculous petition please acknowledge that we already live in a society where leaders can be rightly dismissed for having bigoted views?

Randy also wrote:

“As long as this is true there will always be people who simply nod their head and go along with the crowd they find themselves in and, sometimes, go so far as to vote for things like Prop 8, never realizing its full implications for LGBT families. I have no idea if Eich fits this category but, until proven otherwise, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.”

As commenter Kevin P noted: “But people did try and open a dialogue with Eich. According to the Twitter feed of Hampton Catlin, one of the first to question the decision to hire Eich, Catlin and Eich sat down to lunch to discuss the issue. Catlin didn’t want to change Eich’s mind, he just wanted Eich to understand how his donation was troubling to Catlin and apologize for the harm it caused. But Catlin came away from the conversation without that apology or even a sense that Eich understood the pain Prop 8 caused.”

Do you believe Hampton Caitlin should have just sucked it up and continued developing apps for Mozilla with Eich in charge? Wasn’t he in the right to boycott and encourage others to boycott as well?

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Readers should go look up the history of Peter Bergson, as it provides an instructive parallel to the hideous appeasement-of-bigots junk thinking seen in the petition that the Crock of Turtle Shit Bulletin is promoting.

Peter Bergson saw reports on inside pages of the New York Times that the US State Department had confirmed that 2 million Jews had been killed by Nazis in Poland.

He insisted on a meeting with somebody in the US State Department — but got absolutely nowhere with it.

One State Department official, Breckinridge Long, was deliberately making it impossible for Jews trapped by Hitler to get US visas.

At the time, the leader of Reform Judaism in the U.S. was Rabbi Stephen Wise. After the reports of the 2 million dead Jews were confirmed, Wise succeeded in getting other leaders of U.S. Reform Jews to remain silent about the ongoing Holocaust. Their argument was that to say anything against the mass murders would increase the likelihood of antisemitic backlash in the U.S.

On October 6, 1943, a group of Orthodox Rabbis marched on Washington in hopes of raising awareness of what was happening to Jews in Europe, and in hopes of getting the US government to do something to help them.

Wise et al mocked the Orthodox Rabbis, devalued them in FDR’s eyes and created social conditions where nobody other than Orthodox Rabbis joined that march.

FDR deliberately left the White House so that he would not have to meet with the Orthodox Rabbis when they reached 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Peter Bergson, meanwhile, organized a traveling show of protest “We Will Never Die;” among the performers, Paul Robeson.

Bergson additionally agitated, tirelessly and in the end the pressures he brought got US Immigration to open spaces for endangered European Jews and about 200,000 were saved. Bergson estimates that had the US government heeded him earlier, many hundreds of thousands more would have been saved.

The question of whether LGBTers in the world are human enough to deserve basic human and civil rights is a matter of utmost urgency, as US religious anti-gay bigots are actively promoting anti-gay hate, ignorance and draconian anti-gay legislation abroad.

When a self-loathing basket case signs the petition above, that person is behaving like Rabbi Wise, not like Peter Bergson.

I don’t know how any of the smug, condescending assholes who signed that shit can live with themselves or sleep at night.

Michael Bussee
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

“So I’d like to ask every single signer of this “Freedom to Dissent” pledge (including John Corvino, Andrew Sullivan, Jim Burroway, Ken Mehlman, and Randy Roberts Potts): if Brendan Eich had donated to a white supremacist or neo-Nazi group, would you make similar pleas for “serious consideration” of and “vigorous public debate” about the merits of those views? Would you work so hard to uphold the fiction that two morally equivalent sides exist on issues like racism and sexism and anti-Semitism?

Or is it just homophobic bigotry that deserves this special form of “tolerance?” ~ John Becker

I am with Mr. Becker. I would like to ask those same questions.

Randy Potts
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Bryan, I think it’s great that people vocalized their concerns. The statement all of us at BTB signed was in defense of all speech, not their side or our side but all sides. In regard, however, to one man’s Twitter feed, I can’t comment because nobody else can confirm what was said. To make a decision about how someone will treat LGBT people on the basis of one man’s Twitter feed and one donation in 2008 seems pretty flimsy and, frankly, unfair.

Pat
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Sorry, all you who are decrying the BTB co-signers of this letter: I have read literally hundreds if not thousands of tweets and blog comments and posts calling Eich a “fat pig”, “Nazi”, “gay face”, “Bigot” and “Hater” while re-telling untrue stories about the entire affair at Mozilla. To see Straight Grandmother, in an early comment on JoeMyGod, say “he looks Mormon, doesn’t he?” is a clear reminder of Nazis saying “he looks Jewish”. Get some self-awareness! It is fine to say you boycotted Mozilla (and won — Eich is no longer associated with them in any way, congrats on that!), but to spew all the vitriol and hate and make him the solo whipping boy for Prop 8 and all it entailed is totalitarian. I want no part of that.

Bryan
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Randy,

Thank you for the response to the second part of my post. Now could you please respond to the first part? Specifically, can you at least acknowledge that this debate is really about whether or not gay people should be included in the existing precedent that if a CEO openly supports restricting the rights of a minority group then they should be rightly disqualified from continuing to lead?

Bryan
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

By the way, I just want to thank all the commenters on here who have put forth such well-articulated arguments about why this petition is so absurd. It is helping to restore my faith in our community after being so terribly disappointed by the BTB contributers and others who have signed onto this garbage. I used to get so psyched and excited every time I saw a new post from Rob Tisinai because I knew it would be well-reasoned and well-written. But now this whole episode truly has tainted my impression of anything else I see on this blog.

Neil
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Randy,

It’s possible for Eich to donate to Prop 8 and Pat Buchanan and not personally feel and particular hatred, or even vague animosity towards LGBT people.

It proved to be too much to credit that he both support Mozilla’s program of inclusion and equality and at the same time advocate for inequality in the wider society. As Eich put it:

“There’s a difference here between the company, the foundation, as an employer and an entity, versus the project and community at large, which is not under any constraints to agree on LGBT equality or any other thing that is not central to the mission or the Mozilla manifesto.”

For my part, I believe he could’ve separated these things. I would’ve gone on using Firefox, although I’d have thought it a shame they couldn’t have a CEO who saw Mozilla’s values having accord with the wider society.

As Eich resolved the controversy by stepping down, Mitchell Baker stated that Mozilla does expect a higher standard for it’s leadership, one where a CEO does see the company as having aspirations in common with the community it seeks to serve. It seems it proved a bit in-your-face to have an anti-gay CEO even if he did have an excellent track record within the company.

My problem with this petition is that it over-simplifies matters into one of freedom of conscience. It doesn’t take account of the proper context of this controversy. The discussion that’s gone on has had an influence precisely because it’s very relevant for a project like Mozilla. Eich is free to have anti-gay opinions and that didn’t stop him working as the CTO. But the views of Mozilla’s constituency, it’s supporters and contributors, matter.

It’s a socially aspirant community that apparently didn’t have confidence in Eich to lead it and Eich did a poor job of advocating for himself during his 11 days in the job. This petition almost seems to be advancing the view that this community should just accept Eich, like it or not, as if they were fools whose opinions are of no account.

Is anyone seriously calling for people to be fired from routine jobs because they donated to Prop 8? No. This is very specifically about the position of CEO of Mozilla.

Richard Rush
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Randy Potts said, “Ben, I agree, most voters don’t give this issue much thought, and that’s why I maintain that it’s possible to have voted for or donated to Prop 8 without having specific hatred.”

Those people who voted for or especially those who donated to Prop 8 had to be cognizant of the campaign on both sides of the issue. They had plenty of opportunity to think, but they obviously decided that the relentless lies and ugliness on the Yes-on-Prop-8 side aligned most closely with their own beliefs, or perhaps persuaded them to the yes-side. How is that not hatred?

Ben in Oakland
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

I have stayed out of this very ongoing debate for a number of reasons, the biggest of which was that I pretty much agree with all sides of the matter.

But then I read this: “Ben, I agree, most voters don’t give this issue much thought, and that’s why I maintain that it’s possible to have voted for or donated to Prop 8 without having specific hatred. ”

I’ll just quote myself on something I’ve said many times, and which I learned from Timothy.

Not all bigotry is hate. A good deal of bigotry is one’s wholly unwarranted belief in the always present assumption of one’s inherent but other wise wholly imaginary superiority as a heterosexual, a moral person, a human being, and a Christian.

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

When these privileged, isolated, lame-brained heterosupremacists and their gay ass-kissers announce that anti-gay bigotry is acceptable, here is what they are encouraging. (Visit the website at this link to note its slickness).

https://savecalifornia.com/day-of-silence-walk-out.html

eep your child from being sexually indoctrinated

Pull your kids from this ‘LGBT’ indoctrination stunt at government schools

About ‘Day of Silence’

The so-called annual “Day of Silence” (DOS), which is sponsored by the “Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network” (GLSEN), takes place in most public schools every April. The next will be on or around Friday, April 11, 2014.

On this day, students participating in the “Day of Silence” will wear pro-homosexuality T-shirts, buttons, and stickers, refuse to answer teachers’ questions in classrooms, make it difficult for other students to concentrate, and generally take over school campuses for the entire day.

Thousands of government high schools and increasing numbers of junior high and middle schools are allowing this propaganda throughout an entire day — even during instructional time. The purpose of the silent civil disobedience is to promote homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality to other students throughout the entire day.

Just WALK OUT in April

Don’t let the homosexual-bisexual-transsexualists indoctrinate your child or any other children.

Join the WALK OUT by keeping your elementary, junior high and high school children home on the day the school is permitting students to silently protest.

Resources and further instructions:

SaveCalifornia.com and many other family organizations are co-sponsoring the “Day of Silence WALK OUT.”

Visit or download:

Reasons for the Day of Silence WALK OUT » (PDF)

Instructions for parents » (PDF)

Visit the national pro-family website for “Day of Silence WALK OUT” »

Article: Keep Your Kids Home on Homosexuality-Affirming “Day of Silence” »

See who is pushing LGBT behavior on children:

Check out the pro-homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality DOS site »

Understand the facts – homosexuality is not genetic:

Visit our special web page Not Born This Way »

Help for those struggling with homosexuality and gender identity:

See the links on our web page Not Born This Way »

Why WALK OUT of the LGBT “Day of Silence
1. Prevent “Day of Silence” in your community: Threatening to walk out will discourage some school administrators from allowing students to remain silent in class. They don’t want to lose money (they’ll lose nearly $100 in Average Daily Attendance funds each day your child is not at school).

2. Protect your children from homosexual-bisexual-transsexual indoctrination: If the government-run high school or junior high school in your community is permitting students to remain silent during class on April 20 or any other day, join the parent boycott to at least protect your own children from being sexually brainwashed. Too many parents have been shocked by their public-school children coming home believing that opposition to homosexual “marriages” or cross-dressing is “bigoted” and “discriminatory.”

3. Punish the government schools for sexually indoctrinating children: More than anything, public schools care about money. Encouraging as many parents as possible to keep their children home in protest on whatever day silence is permitted will hit the education establishment where it hurts. They need this pain to teach them to stop sexually brainwashing children.

4. Give parents an opportunity to experience homeschooling for a day: The truth is, every California government school must now follow the law that indirectly requires them to positively promote homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. See the existing school indoctrination laws. This is why SaveCalifornia.com strongly urges parents to home-school or church-school their children. Participating in the one-day “Day of Silence WALK OUT” will let you experience the joys and freedoms of homeschooling for at least a day. We encourage you to make it a goal to give your child the best character training possible through alternative education. Please visit our special website RescueYourChild.com.

OPTIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR PARENTS:

1. Consider calling your local public school administrators.
First, a caution. It’s probably not worth calling your school to find out if “Day of Silence” is happening. School administrators have been notoriously deceptive in their answers about this. They will deny supporting or sponsoring “Day of Silence,” yet will allow students to remain silent nonetheless. Just know that keeping your child home will appropriately punish the anti-family public schools that permit “Day of Silence” by denying them nearly $100 in Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funds.

But if you do call them, ask whether they permit students or teachers to remain silent in the classroom on “Day of Silence.” IMPORTANT: Do NOT ask any administrator, school board member or teacher if the school sponsors, endorses, or supports DOS. Schools do not technically sponsor the Day of Silence. Technically, it is students, often students in the “gay-straight alliance” group, who sponsor it. Many administrators will tell you that they do not sponsor the DOS when, in fact, they DO permit students and sometimes even teachers to remain silent during instructional time. Also ask administrators whether they permit teachers to create lesson plans to accommodate student silence. If they do, this is supportive of the disruptive, pro-homosexuality Day of Silence.

2. Email your children’s teachers.
If you contact you child’s teacher, ask whether they will be permitting students to remain silent in class on DOS and whether they will be creating lesson plans to accommodate student silence. Sometimes there is a disconnect between what administrators or school board members believe is taking place in classrooms and what actually takes place.

3. Check the DOS date.
Be sure to find out what date the event is planned for your school. (The national date in 2014 is April 11, but some schools observe DOS on a different date).

4. Notify your school.
Inform the school of your intention to keep your children home on that date and explain why. (A sample letter is available below.)

OPTIONAL SAMPLE LETTER FOR YOUR SCHOOL
If you confirm that the school or teachers will allow students to stay silent (whether or not they call it Day of Silence, copy and paste this sample letter into your word processing program and customize. We suggest first copying into Notepad, then copying from Notepad into Word or a similar program.

(Date)

Dear _______________,

Due to the administration’s decision to allow the politicization of the learning environment through the Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the highly partisan Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, we feel compelled to call our child/children out of school on that day.

The administration errs when it allows the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day. The protesters have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom. How many political protests will the school allow, and who decides which political issue will be permitted to disrupt the educational process?

Day of Silence participants have a First Amendment right to wear t-shirts, and if other extracurricular clubs put up posters and set up tables from which to distribute materials, “gay-straight alliances” have that right also. The Day of Silence participants go further, however, by exploiting the instructional time of every student in every class for an entire day in the service of their philosophical beliefs and partisan political purposes. Their silence, and in some cases, the silence of their teachers, transform the activities of the day.

By allowing students to remain silent, administrations fail to protect the classroom from intrusive, political exploitation. My child/children will not be part of this political appropriation of the classroom.

Sincerely,

(Your name and signature)

Pat
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

All posters who are portraying this as “the people of Mozilla removed a leader who they did not trust” are propagating a lie — Eich resigned because the press cycle, once the Ok Cupid and Credo boycotts took off (with Perez Hilton and George Takei tweeting about the issue) overwhelmed Mozilla’s meager capacity to manage any message, and their Firefox downloads were shrinking badly. Eich’s interviews (C-net and Venture Beat) did not help and were too late anyway. The relatively few employees who publicly protested all worked for the Foundation and not for Eich (who was CEO of the .com reporting to the board of the foundation). The fact is that there was no mass protest or exodus within any part of Mozilla.

One other thing: It is is illegal in CA (state law 1102) to discriminate or fire an employee for their legal private political actions. Mozilla board knew this and had to walk a very fine line here. Some of the above comments seem to imply it is just fine to remove an employee, even a CEO (and for those still not aware, there is no stock at Mozilla, so the CEO is not some kind of king of shareholders) for any private political action they legally take. And enough with the line about CEO’s being the face of the company — Mozilla is a collective pursuing open source projects, the opposite of an Apple or an Amazon.

Of course in this case what had already been a big controversy about Eich in 2012 (mainly on twitter) about his Prop 8 donation could have been a reason for the board to never have made him CEO, which would be perfectly legal. And the WSJ post’s implications that somehow half the board quit over Eich’s elevation to CEO is denied by Mozilla and patently BS — who has the power here? The board! Who screwed up here in the first place? The board!

So to argue to the general point of the letter Rob and the rest signed, given the above, I for one don’t see the gay activists, either Big or small, acting here. I do see unaccountable leftist agitators (Credo) and opportunistic hypocrites (Ok Cupid) having been instrumental in Eich’s choice-less resignation. The more relevant question given the truth of what happened at Mozilla with Eich is should there be a “glass ceiling” for conservatives who don’t support marriage equality which keeps them out of CEO roles? Recall Eich was CTO for years, without protest demanding his removal, so it is not all C-level roles, apparently, that require political litmus tests.

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

The petition is utter horseshit.

Substitute its aim at homosexuality for Jews, and what do you get?

Fuck all of the signers of that petition.

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Notice that one of the signers of that bullshit petition is Eli Lehrer, a Heritage Foundation fellow. According to his bio, he is a Log Cabin Republican but lives in Virginia WITH HIS WIFE.

Neon Genesis
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Think Progress has a response to this nonsense pledge on their site now. Will BTB respond to it or will they just dismiss Think Progress as intolerant meanies? http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/04/23/3430138/freedom-to-dissent-pledge/

Timothy Kincaid
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Scott Rose,

Like all of our major community organizations, and many of our local community organizations, Log Cabin does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

It should not shock you that a supporter of gay rights would live with his wife.

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

@Timothy Kincaid:

Are you really that naive?

A HERITAGE FOUNDATION fellow, and Republican, encouraging people to vote Republican, (when the National Republican Party has explicit anti-gay-rights language written into it)?

Hello?

You really believe that Eli Lehrer is as interested in the “Log” as in the “Republican”?

Neil
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Pat,

None of the above comments imply it is okay to fire an employee for opposing marriage equality. CEO is not just an employee. And CEO of Mozilla is more significant in the context of this discussion precisely because it is a leadership position of a collective enterprise. That’s what makes his views on equality so sensitive.

If he was CEO of a profit making enterprise, like Unilever or General Motors, I doubt any dissenting opinions from a few employees and a subset of customers would matter to the board.

The objections from within Mozilla were a minor part of the opposition to Eich. But as you point out, Mozilla is much more than a company and it’s employees. It relies on contributions from a huge community of developers to keep the project running. And it’s also engaged in education and lobbying for a free and open internet.

The ability to build and maintain a diverse coalition of supporters is absolutely integral to Mozilla’s prospects. It’s the most important duty of its CEO. Technically, Eich was the best qualified for the job, but he raised serious doubts about his ability to lead and be an effective figurehead. It might not have mattered with a regular corporation. With Mozilla, it proved essential.

Liz
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

This petition is ridiculous but I hope everyone who agrees with it will sign it as I appreciate actually having a list of people who think silencing people criticising bigotry is the way to go.

Timothy Kincaid
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Scott,

I’m sure you’re not the first person who thinks that I’m naive because I didn’t agree with them on something.

But irrespective to my level of naivete, even if I were totally unfamiliar with Eli Lehrer, I do know how to do a google search.

Lehrer’s politics are probably not the sort of politics you would endorse. He’s a classic conservative Republican – I say classic to differentiate him from social conservatives. He favors less regulation, and heads a free-market group. He has an interest in prison reform.

But he also writes rather a lot advocating for gay equality and does so directed towards a conservative audience. You don’t have access or credibility in that demographic. Nor do I. But Lehrer does and he uses it for our cause.

Personally, I see tremendous value in conservatives and Republicans speaking to their own communities about issues of gay equality. And even more so when they are straight conservative Republicans who have a position and voice that is respected in that circle. The NOMites and the haters can’t dismiss them as “radical homosexual activists”.

Perhaps seeing this value makes me naive.

Greg S
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

The thing I find so offensive about this letter is that it buys into the talking point of the right. People being punished for their beliefs or perceived beliefs. Nonsense.

Like it or not the CEO is the face of the company. In 2008 he supported Prop 8. It’s been pointed out here That we don’t know what his position is now or his reasoning then. That is all well and good, but what does he believe now? All it would have taken is a simple statement that he respected all marriages, gay and straight and that would have done it for me. Most of the controversy would have faded away.

To say I don’t want anything to do with a company that embraces as CEO someone who does not respect my marriage is not the same as saying I want to “punish” or stifle discussion. I feel great sympathy for Mr. Eich and all the negative comments and hate that has been directed toward him. Companies give millions to PR firms to create the corporate image they want. But the fact is, he apparently didn’t fit the image that Mozilla wanted to portray. They and he should have realized that before he was appointed CEO. There are plenty of companies that would welcome Mr. Eich such as Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A, to name just two.

In my community of Palm Springs in the aftermath of Prop 8, when the names of supporters was revealed, per star law, there was a heated discussion about boycotting businesses. Since that time I have not patronized any business that donated to the Prop 8 campaign. Again, it is not out of any desire to punish anyone. Indeed most were very nice people. But as long as I have a choice, why should I support anyone who does not respect my marriage?

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Google the title of the petition. Look at how anti-gay writers and their followers are viewing this.

The petition is a “Kick Me” sign, except that most gay people did not sign up to be kicked.

The sentiments expressed in the petition are ALREADY being used to argue that homosexuals should not be allowed to recruit in high schools, (and that said from bigots, with no sense of irony).

In 29 states, it is still perfectly legal to fire somebody (or not to hire them in the first place) only because they are gay. A majority of people in those states who are actually gay, STILL, in 2014 are afraid of being found out as gay, because being found out as gay likely would equate to them loosing their jobs.

But the best that the Crock of Box Turtle Shit Bulletin could think to do for those gay people was to promote this asshole petition.

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Where’s the pledge that right-wingers signed saying that being gay or advocating for marriage shouldn’t cost you your job? Oh wait, that’s right. They signed the Manhattan Declaration and blocked ENDA instead.

JBTaylor
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Greg S, even BTB had a problem with Prop 8 donations back in the day http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/tag/el-coyote

I actually *agree* with most of the sentiments in the letter — I think enough battles have been won, and it’s a better tactic by now to allow for graceful debate rather than seeking to destroy our opponents.

But this is a tactical choice of mine, not a principled stand, and the letter frames this in such a “principled” way that I find rankling. Especially given past stances taken by some of the same folks. Check out the link, the change in tone and tenor between now and then is fascinating…

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Idaho won’t let 74-year-old lesbian navy veteran be buried with her wife

Idaho Veterans Cemetery won’t let US Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor be interred with her wife’s ashes when she dies because of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage
– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/idaho-won%E2%80%99t-let-74-year-old-lesbian-navy-veteran-be-buried-her-wife240414#sthash.emohUOYH.dpuf

74-year-old US Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor wants to be buried with her wife Jean Mixner’s ashes but Idaho’s state military cemetery won’t let her while that state retains its ban on same-sex marriage.

Taylor had been in a relationship with Mixner beginning in 1995 but she died of emphysema in 2012 and was cremated – leaving Taylor to think about what she would like to have done when she died.

She decided she wanted to be interred with Mixner’s ashes but when she contacted Idaho Veterans Cemetery in November to reserve a plot she was told that they could not be buried together.

It’s not even an issue of space. Taylor wants to be cremated too and both women’s ashes could easily fit in the same niche in the cemetery.

But the Idaho state constitution bans any recognition of same-sex marriage so the couple’s 2008 California marriage cannot be recognized by the cemetery.

The Idaho Division of Veterans Services says they have to abide by the Idaho state constitution.

Taylor told KBOI 2 News that she is concerned that she may not have much longer to live.

‘I’m a stroke waiting to happen,’ Taylor said, ‘I don’t see where the ashes of a couple old lesbians is going to hurt anyone.’

Taylor and Mixner could be buried together in a national military cemetery but Taylor wants to be buried in Boise where there are family close by.

Taylor said she has gone public with her story in the hope it will move legislators and she has joined the Add The Four Words campaign who have been holding silent protests in the Idaho Statehouse since 2010 in support of Idaho passing legislation protecting LGBTI people from discrimination.

The 74-year-old was even arrested as one of those protests last month.

Taylor spent six years in the US Navy before being dishonourably discharged after her superiors learned of her sexual orientation though she had that amended to honorable following the repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian people serving in the US military.

She told KBOI 2 News that being discriminated against was nothing new for her.

‘I’m not surprised,’ Taylor said, ‘I’ve been discriminated against for 70 years, and they might as well discriminate against me in death as well as life.’

Taylor says if lawmakers do not act before she dies she will leave instructions with a friend to hold onto both their ashes so that they can be interred together when Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage finally comes to an end.

JBTaylor
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Sorry, fixed link:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/tag/el-coyote

Priya Lynn
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

“But this is a tactical choice of mine, not a principled stand, and the letter frames this in such a “principled” way that I find rankling.”.

Exactly what I told Rob. If people want to promote the idea that its a good tactic to pretend the other side is principled and respectful in opposing marriage equality then do so but please stop trying to con us into thinking anyone who opposes equality actually is principled and respectful.

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

@Timothy Kincaid:

Yes, you ARE naive.

Obviously, where heterosupremacists are elevated to elected office, LGBTers rights get trampled.

You want me to believe that a confirmed ultra-right wing Rethugliturd is more committed to gay rights than to getting people to vote for Rethugliturd candidates?

Please put on your thinking cap, and reflect very hard on what I have told you here, before you come up with any more superficial, doofus gullible hooey.

Ben M
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

JBTaylor – I had looked up the same re: BBT on El Coyote. I agree with a lot of letter, but when I gut check it, I just find the Eich example as a poor one to rally to. You, Neil and The Lauderdale have reflected my spectrum of thoughts the best. To Jim, Randy, Rob and Timothy – I for one will continue to read BBT, it is always nice to read views I don’t always agree with. I think reasonable (and unreasonable) people can come to different conclusion on these issues and both can be of value.

etseq
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

This blog has officially jumped the shark – I am waiting for Robert Oscar Lopez to become the newest contributor.

You have collectively squandered years of goodwill over some right wing stunt. Disgusting.

Scott Rose
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

What should the “debate” be about? Whether or not gay people deserve human rights and equality under the law? There’s nothing to debate. If a bunch of black and Hispanic employees found out their new CEO was a supporter of David Duke’s NAAWP and got him ousted, would you be defending him? No, and neither would anyone else.

esurience
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Wow JBTaylor that is a really good find. Here’s what Kincaid said about El Coyote:

Never – EVER – has Margie been “targeted for the crime of voting her conscience”. That’s just factually untrue. Margie was targeted because she presented a supportive front to her gay customers while she simultaneously funded efforts to take away a fundamental right. This is not a matter of semantics, it’s a matter of facts.

Maggie Gallagher has absolutely no basis for claiming that targeting El Coyote and Marjorie Christoffersen is something new. She just thinks that saying so will stir ill will towards gay people and others who support marriage equality. She wants to accuse us of trying to make those who disagree with us unemployable.

I do not in any way challenge Marjorie Cristoffersen’s right to contribute to whomever she wishes. But she will not use profits made from my dollar to take away my rights.

Sounds exactly like Eich, no? Customers of a restaurant, including Kincaid himself, boycotted it because of a personal donation that a person prominently associated with the restaurant made.

I wonder how Kincaid will explain this apparent inconsistency.

Is it possible he just cares more about eating, and less about web browsers? Is that the reason for this inconsistency? There does seem to be an age gap in the pro/anti Eich divide.

Timothy Kincaid
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

JB Taylor,

When this issue arose, I thought of El Coyote.

It took me a long time to let go of the anger I felt when Marjorie Christofferson betrayed her customer base and supported Proposition 8. I didn’t go back for a very long time.

But – for me – it’s been long enough. While the Culture War is far from over, my fire to keep fighting on a battlefield on which we have already won has diminished. The victory in Prop 8 was not only a court ruling, but a culture shift; the history of the marriage movement is now seen in pre-8 and post-8 terms.

Anti-gay activists, in particular the Mormon Church, gambled heavily on that battle and it was a heavy blow. They lost not only the position of law in the state of California, but a great amount of goodwill that they had worked for decades to achieve.

And I just don’t have it in me to further punish someone who eventually experienced a complete loss. Maybe others aren’t ready to go back. That’s their call. But I recently returned to El Coyote and intend to go again.

It’s not the same. There was zero line at 8:00 pm on a Saturday night for a table of five. Marjorie paid dearly for her action.

And, for me, it was enough.

Priya Lynn
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

So, it was okay for Marjorie Christofferson to pay a price but not Eich.

JBTaylor
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Or maybe it was OK for her to pay a price *at that time*, and not now?

I’m cool with that. Now we’ve won on that particular issue there’s no need to dance on graves.

But I don’t think that’s a stance based on the objective merit of boycotting/not boycotting, it’s simply one reasonable position that I personally sympathize with.

The thing is, though, I don’t have a problem with people coming down on the other side of this issue, and I certainly don’t think it’s fair to paint folks who haven’t let go of this level of the fight as doing something objectively wrong. Ill-advised, maybe, even unhealthy, maybe — but not objectively wrong.

Timothy Kincaid
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

JBTaylor

No, I don’t think objectively wrong. I discussed my take on this here

JBTaylor
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, I agree with your take 100%. And had that been what the letter said, hell, I could have signed it!

But it doesn’t say that. It lectures about “Pursuade, don’t Punish!” and frames the whole episode in objective terms not allowing for nuance or quarter.

This has been a very frustrating thread, because I’m arguing against the people I generally agree with and respect. There seems to be an inexplicable blind spot on the whole topic.

Ben In Oakland
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

I will weigh in once more in a small way. as I said, I agree with just about everyone. But I also disagree with the idea that Brendan Eich was worth the amount of ink, ill will, and political cost. He was small potatoes. I wish half as much effort was spent on something worthwhile.

Timothy Kincaid
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Scott Rose,

I’ve pulled your cut and past of the Arivosis piece.

At Box Turtle Bulletin, we do not allow wholesale cut and paste of articles pulled from other websites. For one thing, it may be protected and it is definitely unfair to those sites.

If you wish to direct attention to a relevant article elsewhere, you can pull a small quote and provide a link for those who wish to go read the full piece.

Kevin P
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Ben, I agree. At this point I tired of talking about Eich. I wish as much effort that went into this letter was put into supporting that police chief who was fired in SC for being gay or help bring attention to the plight of homeless LGBT teens. We are far from victorious in our fight for equality (and based on the increase of infighting lately in the LGBT community, I fear the community will collapse once we get marriage equality and all other LGBT issues will just be ignored)

Robert
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Even if I agreed with the premise of this absurd letter (which I don’t), I would never sign a petition that was supported by the likes of Charles Murray and David Blankenhorn, to say nothing of the other quislings who signed it.

Blankenhorn did not simply try to persuade us not to get married in 2008, he joined in an ugly and disgusting campaign to use the power of the government to PREVENT us from being able to get married. Not only did he appear as the star witness in the Prop 8 trial, where his testimony was sliced and diced by David Boies and was finally dismissed by Judge Walker as nothing more than opinion, but he also wrote an Anita Bryant-like editorial on the even of the election in 2004 saying that people should vote for Prop 8 to “protect the children.”

And Ken Mehlman was the architect of the state DOMAs that blocked gay men and lesbians from marrying in 29 states, all in the service of electing George W. Bush President of the United States, so that he could push for a federal constitutional amendment denying equal rights to gay people.

And these people presume to tell us we should persuade not punish!

The sheer hypocrisy ought to be enough for any gay person with any self respect to steer clear of this absurd and insulting petition.

IN order to be a scold, one needs some shred of moral authority. No one on this list has such authority. Disgusting.

chiMaxx
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Quiddity writes above:

“My view is that (1) non-publicized political donations should be considered private and, (2) private activity should not be a factor in one’s employment.”

I disagree vehemently with part 1. ALL political donations should be considered public and should in fact be made public. Anyone who donates anything more substantial than a stick pen to a petition-gatherer should be publicly named and acknowledged on the website for the candidate or the issue he or she is giving support to, including the amount donated. There should be no such thing as a private or anonymous political donation in this country. Voting is private, but donating is effectively campaigning and that should be done publicly.

Priya Lynn
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

“Or maybe it was OK for her to pay a price *at that time*, and not now?

I’m cool with that. Now we’ve won on that particular issue there’s no need to dance on graves.”.

Your celebration is premature – don’t go spiking the ball yet. The supreme court has yet to weigh in and with conservatives dominating it its not inconceivable that they could rule there is no right to marriage and then you’ll be set back for a generation.

No, the war is far from won.

Traje
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Unfortunately, i’ve lost respect for this blog, just as this blog has lost me as a reader.

It’s unfortunate you felt the need to sign a letter shielding homophobes, giving ammunition to our enemies and joining the likes of Ken Mehlman and William Saletan. But you obviously had your reasons. God Speed.

Richard Rush
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Robert, are you aware that David Blankenhorn now supports marriage equality?

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/01/both-a-thanks-and-a-reminder-to-david-blankenhorn.html

vergil arma
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

“What makes this new “Freedom to Dissent” pledge so repugnant is that it essentially justifies homophobia by implicitly conceding that it deserves, as conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat puts it, “some modest purchase in civil society.” Mindful of their impending defeat on marriage, opponents of equality are now trying to redefine “tolerance” to mean “affirming homophobic bigotry as a legitimate worldview deserving of deference and respect” — and these 58 signatories have bought it hook, line and sinker.

“But our culture doesn’t treat other forms of bigotry with “respect” and “tolerance.” To the contrary, prejudices like sexism, racism and anti-Semitism are overwhelmingly regarded with revulsion and scorn — because society has rightfully decided that these toxic social evils deserve to be shamed and stigmatized, and that sexists, racists and anti-Semites no longer deserve a seat at the table of civil discourse. The lesson of the Brendan Eich controversy is that the public is increasingly ready to add homophobes to that list.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-becker/new-group-of-marriage-equ_b_5206810.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

Priya Lynn
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Great article, Vergil.

Boris Hirsi
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, Timothy, Jim

For years I have read your posts. Seldom have a felt this betrayed.

You deserve only contempt.

StraightGrandmother
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Okay, I’m here and I have my pitchfork. Guys you are totally wrong to have signed this letter and I have lost a great deal for respect for you. You just couldn’t keep it on your blog could you? Oh no, you had to go out and provide aid and comfort to the enemy.

You guys are a bunch of Pacifists.

We must have the strength to accept that some people think misguidedly and harmfully about us. But we must also acknowledge that disagreement is not, itself, harm or hate.

That is appeasement.
“Disagreement” really, “Disagreement”? That is how you put it? Yeah Disagreement IS HARM, when they are voting away your rights as in they “Disagree” with Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities. When they are sending money in to Hate organizations who are pushing out anti gay hatred. But to you this “Disagreement” is not harmful? Gimme a break.

an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree.

raises hand, yup. Yup in some circumstances, sure do want to punish people for being anti gay. The only acceptable position I accept is, “I Personally Oppose but Publicly Support Equal Civil Marriages for Sexual Minorities.” I am not going to rehash all my arguments from previous threads. I am going to give you a concrete example.
#HasJustineLandedYet

Tweet- “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS.Just Kidding. I’m white”
The “tweet heard round the world” was followed by the sound of a slamming door Saturday.

Media company IAC has “parted ways” with company PR executive Justine Sacco over her tweet: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

“The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC. We take this issue very seriously, and we have parted ways with the employee in question,” an IAC spokesman said in a statement.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/21/us/sacco-offensive-tweet/

Justine Was Punished but according to you, she should not have been because after all, it was not said at work and she was on vacation. There is no evidence that on the job she treated black co-workers and subordinates poorly.

I do not want anyone to head any company who cannot say at a minimum, “I Personally Oppose but Publicly Support” Equal Civil Marriages for Sexual Minorities.” With CEO the buck stops there, they are the final arbitrator of company policies and conflicts.

Would anyone hire Justine Sacco to be CEO of a company? Anyone? Blacks and literally millions of other raced people will call out that racism and punish it but for some reason I cannot wrap my head around, you guys think, well as the letter says, ”

Any effort to impose conformity, through government or any other means, by punishing the misguided for believing incorrectly will impoverish society intellectually and oppress it politically.

That is NOT what the Jews believe, and it is not what the blacks believe, I give you Justine Sacco as proof. We are not impoverishing society when we punish racists, are we? When Justine Sacco got FIRED every person got the message that it is NOT acceptable to be a racist.

So the issue is cleanly presented: Is opposition to same-sex marriage by itself, expressed in a political campaign, beyond the pale of tolerable discourse in a free society?

My response is, YES! It is beyond the Pale. Just like Justine Sacco was Beyond the Pale, so to is anyone who stands in the way of Equal Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities and they are not fit to be a CEO of a company.

And then your next part,

We cannot wish away the objections of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions, or browbeat them into submission

Oh but they do NOT subscribe to your pacifism. If a Muslim makes anti Jewish contributions to organizations whose basis is blatantly anti Jewish, deeply anti Semitic, do you not think the Jews in that business are going to question his fitness for office of CEO? And rightly so. Everyone should object, Jews, Muslims, Gays, to any CEO who is helping to fund organizations that are racist, or promote keeping minorities as second class citizens. Hell yeah those examples you cite, you better believe THEY would object if the action was against them, but for some pacifist reason the Gays are not allowed to? They have to be the “Nice” Gays? I’m not talking about contributing to the Republican party, I’m talking about contributing to organizations whose purpose is to harm a minority group, out and out harm them.

How many black people do you think stood up and defended Justine Sacco? Do you think black people were saying as you say above with substituting the appropriate incident,

“We cannot wish away the racism of privileged white people or browbeat them into submission.”

Do you think ANY black person said that about Justine Sacco? Yet sexual minorities are supposed to be considerate of the religious bigotry of SOME Christians, Muslims and Jews? That sexual minorities are supposed to tolerate it? Because that is what you are saying. Black people do NOT TOLERATE it, they Name and Shame Racists, and shout them down, they apply Social Pressure and Pile On. They do not accept Racial Bigotry and neither should gays accept religiously based Bigotry. Again,”I Personally Oppose but Publicly Support Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities” is the only acceptable position to people who object for whatever reason. It is like Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP Julian Bond famously said, “If you don’t like gay marriage then don’t get gay married.”

Much of the rhetoric that emerged in the wake of the Eich incident showed a worrisome turn toward intolerance and puritanism among some supporters of gay equality—not in terms of formal legal sanction, to be sure, but in terms of abandonment of the core liberal values of debate and diversity.

Bullshit, NO other minority group gives a platform of civil debate to their opponents. Do you see even Fox News having a panel discussion of with a Racist on how black people should not have this Civil Right Right or notthat Civil Right? If a Racist was on television saying blacks should not have the Right to Vote for example. Is that even open for discussion anywhere? Anywhere? Marriage is a Constitutional Fundamental Civil Right, and you should believe that deep in your soul. And we SHOULD punish people who seek high positions who cannot say that they support that. Blacks do NOT support Racists being elevated to positions of leadership, hell no they call them out on that.

Our Constitution is NOT based on Religion, it is based on Human Rights, Individual Rights that the majority may not take away from you. The effect of Brendan Eich walking away after Social Pressure was directed at him tells anyone else who is even thinking about climbing up the corporate ladder that being against Gay Civil Rights is no longer socially acceptable. I like that that message was delivered. Eich was NOT FIRED, HE QUIT. And you apologizing for the Social Pressure we placed on Eich is just plain deplorable. Maybe you can put in a good word for Justine Sacco while you are at it. /snark (And I usually don’t do snark but hey I came with my pitchfork as Jim said, so might as well use it)

Eich Quit, we was not fired. He quit rather than support Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities. His decision. The message is delivered loud and clear, do NOT contribute to anti gay organizations because the gays are going to call you out on that.

I BEG the readers and you BoxTurtle guys to go read what your co-signers Johnathan Rausch and David Blankenhorn “really” think about Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities.

Johnathan Rausch- “And if we separate marriage from the religious and cultural thickness that gives it that depth it will weaken it.”

David Blankenhorn: “I agree”

Trust me READ this article,

http://familyscholars.org/2012/10/11/a-conversation-on-marriage/

The fact is you need BOTH. You need Corvino running around the country giving talks at college campuses (soft approach). But you ALSO need the stick of #BigGay to let everyone know Gays are NOT going to take it any more and if you come for them, they will come for you. They will fight for their Civil Rights. Social Pressure is a perfectly legitimate method to deploy in an Social Justice movement.

Don’t forget ACTUP, it seems to me they didn’t shy away from a perfectly valid tactic of Social Pressure, and they accomplished a LOT. Just like ACTUP first tried to engage, but if that failed they sure as HELL Acted Up. Eich had a moment of engagement but he refused to say the only acceptable words and he received Social Pressure for his decision. He was not FIRED, he QUIT.

Robert
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Richard Rush, in 2012, David Blankenhorn stuck his finger in the air and determined that the tide had turned and that it was now costly to oppose marriage equality. He said that he was ending his opposition to marriage equality, but that he stuck by his opinion that it was not a good idea.

So this man who became the face of the opposition to marriage equality (and of its muddled and incoherent arguments that somehow allowing gay people to marry would contribute to the “deinstitutionalization” of marriage), now presumes to describe himself as an ally of our movement. He helped cause innumerable hardships on many people yet now wants us to think he is some kind of moral leader. How naive he must think we are!

Blankenhorn is simply an opportunist who was quite willing to throw us under the bus and have us remain second-class citizens until he discovered that it was costly to be on the wrong side of history. Precisely because he was branded a bigot, he “changed his mind.” The sad case of David Blankenhorn is the best argument for punishing our enemies. No wonder he now thinks we should be all civil and nice to people like him. So much for disinterestedness. Just more opportunism on his part.

StraightGrandmother
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Kameny devoted his life to fighting back. He was both tireless and confrontational in his advocacy of equality, but he never tried to silence or punish his adversaries.

Consider that Kameny did not HAVE the Social Capital to silence his opponents. Justine–“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS.Just Kidding. I’m white”–Sacco was silenced through Social Pressure, was she not? Because thankfully today blacks HAVE Social Capital and today so do Sexual Minorities and their supporters. In 1957 Kameny didn’t, today we do.

Eich HAD his moment of engagement on the issue, he doubled down and said that his customers in Indonesia were important also, that was a double down, and because of that he got even MORE Social Pressure. Eich blew his moment of engagement on the issue, we were not wrong to apply the Social Pressure we did. (not condoning people calling him a pig or vulgarity) I am not going to apologize for using Social Pressure.

StraightGrandmother
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, Tim and Rob are NOT our enemy.

I think they made a wrong move by signing this letter and that gives aid and comfort to the real enemies, they gave cover that being opposed to Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities is not always harmful to people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender.

esurience
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

So I have previously brought up a hypothetical about a CEO who beats his wife. I can now make that concrete with a recent example:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/04/24/radiumone_founder_pleads_guilty_to_domestic_abuse.html

Of course, you could argue there are business reasons for not investing in RadiumOne. If the CEO is prone to beating women, he could easily do it again and land in jail, and that would obviously be bad for business.

But is that really the society we want to be? Where we look at a woman-beater, or a racist, or an anti-gay bigot, and make business determinations that are SOLELY BASED on the bottom line? That the only thing that should matter is our pocket books?

I think that we tolerate our businesses behaving amorally (and the more conservative among us even regard it as virtuous that businesses conduct themselves amorally), is a very serious sickness.

Everyone should behave morally. Whether it’s deciding to donate to a campaign like Prop8, or deciding who to be the CEO of your company. We should hold people accountable for their actions.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

I regularly hear from people who want to hold other people and business accountable for their actions and who are very concerned about businesses behaving amorally.

The problem is that they define “morally” in ways with which I don’t agree. Sure, I might agree with them sometimes that something is unnecessarily crude, but mostly it’s an attempt to impose their views of what is or isn’t moral on the world around them.

So I don’t have a lot of appreciation for morality campaigns.

Scott Rose
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

StraightGrandmother has handed the Crock of Box Turtle Shit Bulletin its rear end on a tallywhacker.

Scott Rose
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Telling LGBTers to shut up, and to leave heterosupremacists in positions of power is idiotic on its face, and in fact.

esurience
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid,

Yes, some people are wrong about what is moral, and what is immoral. Other people’s wrongness isn’t a reason to give up on morality itself.

Someone can be wrong about how to solve a math problem. That doesn’t pose a problem for the people who are doing the math problem correctly. We don’t give up on math because some people are bad at it, and we shouldn’t give up on morality either.

The right response to One Million Moms is to explain to the public how their views on morality are wrong (which has largely already been done… they’re not a very effective group).

Is it your position that this girlfriend-beating CEO shouldn’t be held accountable by people who might otherwise do business with him?

Rob Tisinai
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

The right response to One Million Moms is to explain to the public how their views on morality are wrong (which has largely already been done… they’re not a very effective group).

Exactly. Exactly.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Further to this:

“Any effort to impose conformity, through government or any other means, by punishing the misguided for believing incorrectly will impoverish society intellectually and oppress it politically.”

Any effort? Any effort?!

No, not any effort, it depends very much on the situation. Attempting to impose conformity on the ideas that you shouldn’t murder, steal, or cheat on your taxes doesn’t impoverise society intellectually and oppress it politcally. And its the same with encouraging people to embrace equality.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

esurience

I agree that we should not give up on morality. But we should consider that, unlike math, morality is subjective.

You and I could work for years on a list of what is morally objectionable and what is not. And even should by some miracle we come to an agreed upon listing, the next person to come along would differ with one or another item.

And likely, we ourselves would change our views about one or another items.

This situation illustrates that well. Many here find a contribution made to Proposition 8 six years ago to be so morally repugnant that not only does it disqualify a person from being CEO of Mozilla, but even daring to not agree about this assessment is evidence of great moral failure.

And that is all without even pointing to a thousands-of-years-old book and claiming that one’s own sense of morality is justified by its “clear language”.

At least the tiny handful of guys that call themselves One Million Moms have some written basis for their definition of morality (though its debatable just how their morality aligns with their book). In this situation, I see some making dogmatic assertions based on nothing but their own internal, highly subjective, and entirely situational sense of morality.

And it’s not a winning approach.

While within the echo-chamber threads of gay websites it may seem like an obvious conclusion, there is almost zero chance of selling the case in the greater public that Eich acted immorally or that his due punishment was being ousted from his job.

Just as One Million Mom’s extremism is soundly rejected by a public that does not share their sense of morality, we run the risk of also appearing extreme if we make that case.

If Eich’s promotion would cause you not to use Firefox, I have no complaint with that decision. That’s a valid decision. As is the decision not to work with Mozilla or the decision to object as an employee.

But I simply cannot get on board with those voices who insist that Eich is an Enemy and that there is some moral cause to deny employment (or employment at certain levels) to him based on this donation.

Scott Rose
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Again, fuckhead, when you focus on the Prop 8 donation as the sole reason there was social pressure for Eich not to be CEO of Mozilla, you are denying the seriousness of the totality of his reactionary political commitments.

You also are not working positively on any LGBT-rights related issue whatsoever.

It was bad enough that Sullivan chimed in on Eich — we then had to suffer Frank Bruni regurgitating Sullivan’s B.S.

You know two people who deserve to lose their jobs over anti-LGBT discrimination?

Boehner and McConnell.

How does all of your patsy-Rethugliturd-petition related blah blah blah work towards unseating those two very powerful anti-LGBT bigots?

Would you please do something instead of crying over Brendan Eich, who richly deserved what he got?

In the years that Bruni has had a column at the Times, he has NEVER ONCE devoted a whole column to a transgender person or issue. Yet it was of value for him to regurgitate Sullivan’s Eich-ass-kissing?

GET A GRIP!

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy said “I agree that we should not give up on morality. But we should consider that, unlike math, morality is subjective.”

I couldn’t disagree more. Morality is determined by harm. If you are not harming others whatever you’re doing is moral. We can debate on what is truly harmful, or what is the best balance of conflicting rights but there is no rational argument to be made that morality is based on anything other than harm.

RainbowPhoenix
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

I suggest finding a way to express disagreement with how Eich is viewed that doesn’t insult many of your loyal readers or contribute to the frankly false narrative that he was driven out by some coordinated campaign of pitchfork-wielding gays.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

And if anyone wants to dispute that, I am THRILLED to have that debate.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

I was referring to disputing my previous comment, not RainbowPhoenix’s

Rob Tisinai
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

I suggest finding a way to express disagreement with how Eich is viewed that doesn’t insult many of your loyal readers or contribute to the frankly false narrative that he was driven out by some coordinated campaign of pitchfork-wielding gays.

Rainbow, I attempted exactly that in this piece. It doesn’t contribute to the false narrative, and I don’t see where it insults our readers.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, I feel insulted when you suggest its possible to respectfully argue that gays and lesbians don’t deserve the right to marry or that it isn’t necessarily hateful to make that argument.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Scott Rose,

We have a Comments Policy and Missions and Principles at Box Turtle Bulletin. We disallow profanity and require civility.

None of us lives entirely up to our own standards or expectations. But we do strive.

We have been incredibly lax with you in regards to the comments you have been making. But it really isn’t fair to our readers to allow this to continue.

I have no desire to restrict your views or your opinions. Please feel free to continue expressing your viewpoint, even when (or especially when) it differs from a commentary. But if you want to use vulgar and abusive language, you should do so at your own website, not here.

Scott Rose
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

@Timothy Kincaid:

The fact that you are pulling the “Don’t say fuck” card on me, when your own arguments are far more obscene, and amount to attacks on the LGBT community, and tangentially, on the Jewish community, says more about you than about me.

Nobody who contributes money to avowed anti-Semites should be in any position of power.

The argument about Eich begins and ends there.

Rob Tisinai
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

You feel insulted, but I do not see how I insulted you. Disagreement is not insult.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Rob said “Disagreement is not insult”.

Whether or not that is true depends very much on the specific disagreement. If I say chocolate ice cream is the best and you say “No, vanilla is.” that’s not an insult. But if you say “gays don’t deserve equal rights” is a respectable argument its an insult.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Scott, I appreciate your opinion, but please drop the profanity. Its like you’re trying to goad them into censoring you. I want to hear what you have to say.

Richard Rush
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy said, “We disallow profanity and require civility”

You’re certainly not unique in that regard, but there’s something amusing (as well as annoying), in general, about the need to protect people’s tender wittle sensibilities from being offended by exposure to naughty words.

Personally, I’m much more offended by the petition/statement/letter that is the subject of this post.

Presumably, we’ve all seen the photo of a Harlem pastor’s church sign reading: “Jesus would stone homos. Stoning is still the law.” I’ll bet he wouldn’t dream of putting one of the certifiably naughty words on his church sign, though.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Good point Richard.

TampaZeke
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

You can preach against, speak against, vote against, support campaigns against and finance movements against an entire minority’s civil rights and letters will be written to not only support the right to do so but also to condemn those who challenge those who so do, but DON’T DARE say a dirty word!

THAT is speech that MUST be suppressed!

Rob Tisinai
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

TampaZeke, you think we’re condemning people for challenging those who preach against, speak against, vote against, support campaigns against and finance movements against an entire minority’s civil rights? You know first hand that Jim, Timothy and I have issued those challenges again and again and again. This is a straw man interpretation of the petition, refuted by years of work evident on this blog, and for me, at least, that sort of straw manning has been one of the most frustrating aspects of the controversy.

JBTaylor
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, Rob, Timothy — Do y’all believe one could have advocated for Eich to step down without having been motivated by a desire to punish?

If so, where does your stance on the letter leave that type of person? Can you see how they might sincerely be offended, and how they might feel betrayed?

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

In answer to questions about what I believe, see here

RainbowPhoenix
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Well, given your strawmanning of how Eich ended up resigning, that seems just a mite hypocritical of you.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Do you really want to come to the defense of this? Is this the sort of thoughtful communication that you think is being surpressed? Or this?

Aaaaand you think I’m just wagging my finger over a dirty word.

Jim Taylor
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, as I’ve said before I respect and agree with your beliefs as laid out in your link. But respectfully, you’re not responding to my questions — not that you’re required to, but I’d prefer no response over something tangential.

Rob Tisinai
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Sure, JB. Some people have argued that Eich donation cost him the respect of the employees and wrecked his ability to do his job. I have no problem with that, and neither does the petition. But that’s different from jumping immediately from He signed to He must go without that intermediate development.

In addition, if he believed that gay people are innately inferior, that would rule him out as a suitable leader. But as I’ve explained, I don’t think opposition to same sex marriage is necessarily proof of bigotry. I know too many counter-examples. Also, if it were true, we wouldn’t have seen such dramatic change in such a short time on this issue.

What’s frustrated me about the outrage and invective is that it’s been based on things the petition didn’t say: That we must never defend our rights, never protest, never call out bigotry, that we shoul just shut up. I didn’t see that in the petition I signed, and it’s not consistent with my history on this blog.

Rob Tisinai
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

You mean this straw manning, Rainbow?

This hit home few days ago when I expressed concern on Facebook about the Brendan Eich controversy. A friend asked me, But what would you have done differently? The short answer might be: Nothing, because it’s possible we didn’t do anything. Yes, there was a petition with 70,000+ signatures calling for his resignation, but some have convincingly argued that he had to go because many of the Mozilla’s employees weren’t willing to accept his leadership, and that makes a sound business case for his departure.

Also this:

I do recognize that many factors contributed to Eich’s resignation, and that protests from outside the company might not have been the proximate cause for his departure.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

“, I don’t think opposition to same sex marriage is necessarily proof of bigotry. I know too many counter-examples.”.

Well then you’re both willfully blind and wrong.

Opposition to gay equality doesn’t just pop into people’s heads without a reason. You have to first believe gay people are inferior, or bad before you can get to “They don’t deserve the right to marry.”. If you truly believe there’s nothing wrong with being gay you can’t get to “They don’t deserve the right to marry.”.

Rob Tisinai
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Priya, you can make all the arguments you like, but they all evaporate in the face of my direct experience with actual people. You might be able to make a case that the sky is green everyday, but the even the best-sounding arguments fail when I look at the sky and see blue or gray.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

JB,

Certainly I suppose it is possible to advocate for Eich to step down without having been motivated by a desire to punish. The majority of the voices I’ve heard on this, however, did seem to include the element of punishment either for his beliefs (or contribution) then or his presumed beliefs now. It was in regard to those voices that I objected.

As to others who didn’t seek to punish Eich, neither the statement nor my comments speak about them. I don’t know their motivations and really can’t speculate as to my opinions about each hypothetical situation.

Jim Taylor
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, Timothy, thank you.

I’m still thinking my way through why this letter sincerely bothers me, given I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments as good tactics

RainbowPhoenix
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Yeah, nice platitudes. Shame you completely forget them in your zeal to wag your fingers at everyone because there were apparently mobs of pitchfork-wielding gays driving Eich from his job.

And I suppose you can ignore the animus of people saying that we shouldn’t be allowed to raise children, or that our marriages will somehow hurt theirs. If you only take everything you hear at face value of course. The KKK claims not to hate anyone either.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, its you who say something exists without cause. Its you who’s saying the sky isn’t blue, not me.

Brian
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Hi all:
Avid reader of BTB, infrequent commenter. I think this is an interesting discussion. There are a few issues this raises for me.

1. The letter’s fundamental assumption is that opposition to same-sex marriage and contributing to a dehumanizing campaign against same-sex couples is a mere “disagreement” that can be presented “respectfully” and not an attack on LGBT people’s civil rights–that is, their material and social wellbeing. That opinion has been vehemently rejected by most LGBT people and that’s what is infuriating people about this letter, I think. Furthermore, the authors of the letter have implicitly rejected arguments that such “respectful” presentation of opposition to same-sex marriage is a function of either PR or cognitive dissonance (akin to “I’m not a racist, but…”). BTB’s authors, of all people, are aware that anti-gay organizations have been trying to package their anti-gay positions in more palatable rhetoric for decades. Yet, this letter does not address this reality.

Most disturbing, the letter signers cloak their controversial, contestable view that opposition to same-sex marriage is a mere “disagreement” in the rhetoric of pluralism. But the denial of LGBT people’s civil rights, and enshrining one’s personal opposition to same sex marriage into law is anti-pluralistic, on its face. By using the rhetoric of pluralism and pointing an accusatory finger at those who opposed Eich, the authors have, ironically, ignored (or deliberately occluded?) the fact that opposition to same-sex marriage as a matter of law is inherently anti-pluralistic! This is why people are accusing you of supporting the enemy.

3. In a democratic, pluralistic society there are ideas that pose a great degree of danger to that pluralism. Racism, sexism and homophobia are some of those mortally dangerous ideas. Both the history of Western democracies and the rhetoric spewed by racists, sexists and homophobes prove it. Now, to use the State to squash views that are racist, sexist or homophobic is a cure worse than the disease. But responsible citizens of modern democracies have an interest in marginalizing and rendering socially unacceptable these ideas. The “ladies’ and gentlemen’s agreement” in a pluralistic society is that inherently anti-pluralistic views are not acceptable in mainstream discourse and if you express your legal right to spew those views, don’t be surprised when people make your life as uncomfortable as you seek to make those who are the targets of your rhetoric–within the law, of course.

4. Using one’s support for LGBT rights to justify signing the letter doesn’t really work. Your support just makes your position incoherent; it does not demonstrate that your view is any less problematic.

Adam
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

I don’t think he should have stepped down out of a sense to “punish” him. I think he should have stepped down because he all but said he would donate to Prop 8 again. That put his LGBT employees in the position of enriching someone who could use the fruits of their labor to take away their rights (or the rights of other LGBT people in other states or countries).

This whole thing was about his act of funding a vile campaign to destroy the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, and whether he would do the same in the future. Not what he believed or believes now. Most of us don’t care what he thinks; we care what he does.

It was only sources like Sullivan, Rauch, Friersdorf, Saletan, and you guys here that twisted it into a witchhunt based on opinion. Now we have the anti gay contingent with this letter proclaiming that gay people think there should have been no consequences for Eich (and people like him), when he acted to destroy our rights. Way to go.

Michael Bussee
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:

“The majority of the voices I’ve heard on this, however, did seem to include the element of punishment either for his beliefs (or contribution) then or his presumed beliefs now. It was in regard to those voices that I objected.”

In an earlier comment he said:

“When this issue arose, I thought of El Coyote. It took me a long time to let go of the anger I felt when Marjorie Christofferson betrayed her customer base and supported Proposition 8. I didn’t go back for a very long time… Marjorie paid dearly for her action. And, for me, it was enough.”

So why does Timothy object to Eich having to pay for his anti-equality actions — when it was perfectly OK for him to take part in making sure that to the owner of El Coyote had to suffer hers? I guess we are supposed to ask him when it’s OK and when it’s “enough”.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Hello Michael, I hope all is well with you.

You need not ask me when enough is enough. You probably have different thresholds of when to let go, when to forgive, when to move on, or when to make peace. You live by your conscience, and I by mine.

For me, six years is enough. We won the Proposition 8 battle and I have no desire to hold to some scorched earth policy when it comes to the people around me who eventually lost. I hope some day we’ll be on the same page.

Incidentally, one of my favorite memories of you is when you sought to reach out to attendees at an ex-gay conference with an olive branch. I thought that as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, it was both generous and appropriate.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Excellent post Brian. It is a grotesque mis-characterization to claim opposition to marriage equality is mere “disagreement”

StraightGrandmother
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Brian
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Hi all:
Avid reader of BTB, infrequent commenter. I think this is an interesting discussion. There are a few issues this raises for me.

1. The letter’s fundamental assumption is that opposition to same-sex marriage and contributing to a dehumanizing campaign against same-sex couples is a mere “disagreement” that can be presented “respectfully” and not an attack on LGBT people’s civil rights–that is, their material and social wellbeing. That opinion has been vehemently rejected by most LGBT people and that’s what is infuriating people about this letter, I think.

You nailed it, your entire comment nailed in a way I felt but did not communicate as eloquently as you. So PLEASE do stick around and add to the discussion. Please.

Michael Bussee
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy: I was questioning why you would object to the idea that Eich should be “punished” for his anti-gay activities and beliefs when it was perfectly OK for you to punish Christofferson for hers?

Is it because that issue was still being fought at the time and the Prop 8 battle in California is now over? What are your feelings about “punishing” those who continue to support inequality in other states?

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Michael,

I explained my views here

Michael Bussee
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy: Thanks for the link. I think I understand that you don’t think we should continue to punish people for their past actions once we win the equality battle in that particular part of the country.

No need to kick them once they’re down, so to speak.

But it didn’t really answer the question about whether or not you believe that people who currently support anti-gay legislation should be punished in the way you punished the owner of El Coyote.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Michael,

Punishing Marjorie Christofferson was not my goal.

I guess we view the world differently.

Richard Rush
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Rob Tisinai said, “I don’t think opposition to same sex marriage is necessarily proof of bigotry. I know too many counter-examples.”

I’m curious about how your “counter-examples” break down in terms of relationship to you: Family? Friends? Friends of both you and Will? Co-workers? Casual acquaintances? People met via door-to-door canvassing? People only known via telephone conversation?

If they are family and/or friends, then, in 2014, I’d say they are bigots, regardless of how polite they are to your face. If they had been opposed to same-sex marriage in 2004, I would not have said they were bigots based on that singular issue. When people first heard about the notion of same-sex marriage, I can understand how the vast majority were locked into rigid thinking about what marriage is.

If they are casual acquaintances or people met via door-to-door canvasing, the decision to label them bigots in 2014 seems a little bit more difficult because 1) they may not have given the issue much thought, and/or 2) they may just be nice to your face, or not want to “get into it.” For example, I have a distant cousin who lives in Washington state, and during the few time when she has been in the presence of me and my partner, she could not have been nicer ~ but then later I discovered that she had signed the infamous petition for the anti-gay side of Referendum 71 in 2009.

Michael Bussee
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

“Punishing Marjorie Christofferson was not my goal.”

Timothy, it may not have been your goal, but it seems to have had that effect. You certainly weren’t trying to reward her for it. And you still didn’t answer the question.

You took action against her opposition of equality. Your actions (and the actions of other like you) caused her to suffer financial loss. You said it yourself: she “paid dearly for her action” and “that was enough”.

So, I ask again, hoping for a straight answer this time: Do you think those who continue to support inequality should “pay dearly” like she did?

Aaron Logan
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Well this issue certainly highlights the power of the blogosphere (or maybe just the commentariat) and our allies in marriage equality (who vastly outnumber us) to punish a CEO and get him fired just by speaking! Just think what would happen if used our power for good instead of evil. It’s only free speech if we approve of your motives, right?

But seriously the last straw for me was when Eich indicated that Mozilla’s future success depended on catering to the homophobia in places like Indonesia.
“Eich also stressed that Firefox worked globally, including in countries like Indonesia with “different opinions”, and LGBT marriage was “not considered universal human rights yet, and maybe they will be, but that’s in the future, right now we’re in a world where we have to be global to have effect”.”
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/01/mozilla-ceo-brendan-eich-refuses-to-quit

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Michael, I wish you well. But as you know, we differ greatly in how we see the world. Especially when in comes to issues such as revenge, bitterness, anger, and punishing others.

I’ve gone down the road of conversation with you on such matters and, as I’m sure you recall, it didn’t go well. So I’ll not subject myself to your interrogation, your shared wisdom, or your efforts at persuasion again.

I wish you a lovely evening.

Michael Bussee
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy: Based on our prior interactions, I didn’t think you would be willing to answer a direct (and legitimate) question. The fact is ( in spite of your efforts to duck the issues) you (and others) took action against the owner of El Coyote for supporing Prop 8. You said yourself that she “paid dearly” and that was “enough” for you.

I find it dismissive and arrogant that you would claim to know my views on issues like revenge, bitterness, anger and punishing others. You do not. I have never called for “revenge”, but I have supported legitimate anger by people who have been abused and marginalized by anti-gay groups and individuals.

If you will recall, our prior interactions “didn’t go well” because you took the stand of preaching to ex-gay Survivors about how they “should forgive” in what came across to them and to me as a decidedly superior, moralist tone — in much the same way this matter isn’t sitting very well with many of your readers.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Michael ,

You are conflating snippets to change the meaning of what I said. I’d rather you didn’t do that, but you are not going to goad me into fighting with you.

Have a lovely evening.

Scott Amundsen
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Okay I have reached saturation point. This latest barrage of “play nice” messages from members of our own community who for their own reasons are going through life with their heads wedged firmly up our oppressors’ collective arse has left my last Gay nerve scraped raw and my temper at the boiling point.
I don’t want to hear about what the Bible says. I’ve read it a couple of times, plus a good many scholarly works about it. So I know what it LOOKS like it says and I know what it REALLY says and, more importantly, what it DOESN’T say. And I am THROUGH debating Scripture. Being LGBT is not wrong. It is not sick. It is not “broken.” It is not “deviant.” And I am SICK unto DEATH of the segment of the Christian community that is demanding the right to demean and oppress us and then when we call them out for their bigotry they scream that WE are the oppressors.
This is NUTS.
To those Evangelicals and others who want to deny LGBT persons equality:
I will remain civil. I won’t call you names. I won’t attack your wife, or your husband, or your children, or your mother, or what-have-you. I won’t attack your physical appearance. But I WILL tell you that you are WRONG when you are WRONG. And on this one you are as wrong as two left shoes. You are hurting innocent people who never did you a moment’s harm. You are criminalizing people who pose no threat to society. You are on the wrong side of history. And some of you will live long enough to see your so-called self-righteous “crusade” go down in flames. I just pray that my husband and I live long enough to see it as well; we’ve been waiting for over half a century.

Pat
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Finally Straight Grandmother rises from her sickbed to weigh in. Still, despite the protest you make here about not condoning vulgarity against Eich I see ZERO comments from you protesting other frequent posters calling him cunt (your PC hated term, a favorite of so many leftist gays you ally with), Nazi, fat pig, gay face, etc, on multiple blog posts you commented on at Joemygod and elsewhere. So clearly this is war for you, and anyone who, for whatever reason (and don’t tell stories about what you do not know), opposes us, you demand they be “chilled”, shunned, and silenced. Let’s hope the shoe never goes on the other foot, because when it does, all you and your totalitarian ilk will have is hypocritical whining. No persuasion, no argumentation, no intellectual rigor — just whining. A tiny minority is always at risk of backlash and must depend upon robust and respectful persuasion. Sorry, that is historical reality. Good luck with your war, you hateful harridan. You know the odds of ultimate success, given total fertility rate in emerging markets vs US and EU, for winning your beloved war, are pretty much zero. Just how do you really think this ends?

Scott McDaniel
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy Kincaide is about self-aggrandizement. How dare he set himself as arbiter of who should be angry and what I should feel. You are a disgrace to the cause of equality.

Michael Bussee
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

I wasn’t trying to goad you into arguing. I was trying to understand what you were saying and hoping for a direct answer. You seemed to be OK with the owner of El Coyote suffering the consequences of her support of Prop 8. You boycotted the place. Many others did. She “paid dearly” — your words, not mine. You eventually got over your anger and went back, noticing much shorter lines. You said it was “enough”. I asked if you felt that such consequences were reasonable and justified for people who continue to support inequality for LGBT people. That should be a simple thing to answer.

Michael Bussee
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

And for the record, I have never called for “revenge” against anti-gay people, demanded that they be “silenced”, wished harm on their families, called for violence towards them or hurled vile names at them — not that I don’t think they might not deserve that reaction for doing those same things to LGBT people since God knows when.

Scott Amundsen
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

In this country it is unconstitutional to demand that anyone be “silenced” and I am quite certain no one is saying that, or even implying it.

However this question will be settled eventually and I think it is fairly clear to anyone with an ounce of humanity how it should be settled. So in the most civil way possible I should like to suggest to those who are fighting a losing battle to sit down, shut up JUST long enough to think about what you are doing, and consider moving on to something productive.

Richard Rush
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Pat, StraightGrandmother does not come close to deserving your ugly comment. You seem more interested in respectfully kissing the asses of bigots than being thankful for the passionate allies that we already have.

Pat
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Not interested in kissing anyone’s ass, RR. Interested in what we can stand on and point to when the shoe is on the other foot (for example, if Republicans take the Senate in 2014 and WH in 2016), and how an ideologue like SG who diagnosed a Eich’s religion (incorrectly) at first by his picture will deal with it. I don’t need to silence my enemies, and am secure enough to tell them they are wrong and why without placing them beyond the pale. It is not that hard to do, chickenshits.

Anthony Venn-Brown
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

WHOA!
Very important discussion this that needs to be had in our community. Thanks for bringing it up. I guess the conversation has to start somewhere but from some comments and emotions expressed here some are not ready for the dialogue. Reminds me a little about when the whole marriage equality question surfaced. How many people in our community got up in arms and said things like “They can keep their heterosexual bullshit” “This is the gay community selling out for a desperate need for acceptance” etc etc. We rarely hear those voices these days except from a handful of angry activists who will never be happy. Their worlds are ones of constant angst which plays out in all areas of their lives but particularly anything to do “equality” (which means I’m always right and your always wrong)

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2014 | LINK

Pat saves his harshest condemnation for the people who support gay equality and bitterly bitches about how we need to be nice to those who’d deny others the same rights they have.

With “allies” like you Pat we don’t need any enemies.

Neil
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, you said:

I do recognize that many factors contributed to Eich’s resignation, and that protests from outside the company might not have been the proximate cause for his departure.

And this is precisely the sort of reasoned comprehension of the context of Brendan Eich’s resignation that is missing from the petition, which makes the oversimplified mischaracterisation,

the Mozilla CEO who resigned over his $1,000 donation to California’s Proposition 8 campaign

There’s a sense that the complexity of this matter has been reduced for the sake of shoe-horning it into a neat stance on free speech and job security. The sentiments expressed in the petition are all very worthy, but they’re ill-served by the distorted illustration that too conveniently erases details of a topical matter to make a case.

The whole problem with this petition is that it presents Eich’s resignation as a black and white case of someone being punished for a political donation made in 2008. It paints all those who were against Eich’s appointment as merely intolerant, and in so doing appears to depict the authors of the petition as occupying moral high ground by distinction.

In summation, it feels like many BTB readers are being patronised. The fact that the blog is so routinely excellent otherwise also serves to put it all into relief.

Pat
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Sorry, Rob and Neil, but it is pretty simple: if there had been no Credo and then OK Cupid boycott followed by media firestorm, Eich would still likely be CEO. The Credo boycott was helped by Hampton Catlin’s pulling his game from Mozilla Marketplace but he expressly (and disingenuously) said he was not advocating a boycott, just acting for his and his partner’s self interest. Whichever was the proximate cause, that individual protest or the Credo action and its knock on effects, what pushed Eich’s demise as CEO was much more media amplified external causes destroying Mozilla’s downloads and his reputation. Telling untrue stories now about how it was an internal protest primarily belies both the record and the triumphalism in many of the comments. You can’t have it both ways.

Pat
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

My harshest criticism is not for SG, Priya, and your implication is correct, it is also not for people like Eich who donated for Prop 8 but by all accounts did nothing in his job to act against anyone from bias — it is reserved for those totalitarians on both sides who label their opposition with smears, curse words and worse, and who advocate their censure, shunning, and dismissal. And in this case, also for those who then proceed to flog the absent guilty for weeks and weeks to perpetuate their arguments, again speaking of both sides. I reject your “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality. I donated against Prop 8 despite being out of state, and work for my and all LGBT rights with my own effort and money as I see best fit, but I don’t dogmatically submit to any orthodoxy. And I did not bitterly bitch that anyone had to be nice, I was calling out Straight Grandmother’s phony comment about not supporting nasty ad hominem attacks on Eich (as I previously posted, I was appalled by one of her early comments on JMG speculating how Eich “looked like a Mormon”). And to her demand that he or any CEO or public leader must publicly support marriage equality, no matter what their “private” views, I say that is totalitarian, and some weasel words allowing those leaders to “privately oppose” (yet never ever do or say anything to indicate such opposition) is Orwellian nonsense.

StraightGrandmother
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

I was calling out Straight Grandmother’s phony comment about not supporting nasty ad hominem attacks on Eich (as I previously posted, I was appalled by one of her early comments on JMG speculating how Eich “looked like a Mormon”).

Pat I am NOT the Hall Monitor on Joe My God. Perhaps you should complain to Joe, who’s blog it is. Offer your Hall Monitor Services to Joe and enforce *your* Civil Rules of Engagement.

When I see someone who is opposed to Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities the first thing that flashes through my mind is, I wonder what Religion they are?” And for a very good reason, because it is a fact, most of the opposition to Equal Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities is Religiously based opposition. That is a fact. I will however take your criticism to heart and not refer to someones looks. Instead of saying, “I wonder if he is Mormon? He looks Mormon doesn’t he? Next time I will simply say, “I wonder if he is Mormon?” Mormons gave a Hell of a lot of money to Prop 8 and I was speculating. That is what we do when we are having a conversation, sometime you speculate based on facts you already know, such as religious beliefs are the principal reason of opponents.

When opponents bring religion to the table it is not wrong of me to then speculate about their religion. I am not saying Eich brought his religion to the issue *in this instance* but overwhelmingly Religion is THE number ONE justification for adhering to the belief that Sexual Minorities are to be denied access to Civil Marriage.

Please provide your forum name over at Joe My God so that I can alert you to comments that do not meet your rules of engagement and YOU can then go ahead and correct them. Going forward kindly use c*nt instead of the full word. As a woman I find that word highly offensive and have said so many many times at JMG. Many Times. And I have gotten many people to agree not to use that term, c*nt. Unfortunately others have pushed back on me and continue to use it (much to my consternation). Thank you in advance for not using that term *even when directly quoting*, I am trying to *silence* use of that word.

Pat
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Thanks for your reply SG. I don’t comment at JMG, for one reason because Joe doesn’t moderate (with one exception about the N word), and so there are way too many regulars there who rush to ad hominems like the c word. Sorry I did not write c*nt when listing the names I’ve seen Eich called, but you have to admit you have been “hall monitor” about that word on a number of forums, consistently, just as you are in your closing paragraph here (which is certainly your prerogative).

Whether Eich’s reasons for supporting Prop 8 came from religious, sociological, anthropological, economic, or political beliefs, or something else, was indeed a big topic of speculation, understandably (and how frustrating for many that he never engaged on any of this, which would have done nothing to save his job and diminish the damage to Mozilla from the storm, in my view, regardless of what he might say — either side would pounce or continue to protest). Anyway, associating looks with religious belief is as wrong as any other looks based association, so thanks for your thoughtful response on that point.

StraightGrandmother
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Well at least there is somethings Pat we agree on, that is a start. You called me out for saying someone “Looks” Mormon okay, that was legit. Duly noted and self corrected. You have apologized for using the C word, okay thanks for that.

Moving on…. to the important concepts/methods of Gay Rights Advocacy.

StraightGrandmother
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

And By The Way I am getting a hip replaced on Tuesday and am in various levels of pain. So when I write “I can’t do this right now,” it’s for real. The best is when I manage to sleep in a certain position and wake up pain free for a few hours. It is in those hours that I work furiously, as I know in a little while the pain is coming and I am going to be flat on my back and my ability to formulate cohesive arguments is greatly diminished. I am just about reaching that point right now. The pain is starting, and soon I can at best, read and respond to some tweets and offer short comments. Snark about me raising form my sickbed, duly noted.

Pat
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

I am sorry you are in pain. Sincere apologies for the snark, and good luck with the operation.

Scott Rose
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Who initiated the petition?

It is blatantly a Republican election year ploy, though some of the signers got sucked into signing it for other reasons.

Who initiated it?

To understand what is really going on with it, we must know who initiated it.

Scott Rose
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

P.S. — when a gay blogger alleges that anti-gay bigots who don’t want LGBTers to have full legal equality are not bigots, that is the very definition of a dhimmi.

Rants about the sky being blue notwithstanding, LGBT dhimmis in heterosupremacist societies should be viewed with intensest skepticism.

Rob Tisinai
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Hey SGM, sorry you’re going through that. I admire your fortitude and determination.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Straight grandmother does more in a week to advance justice than a thousand Pats do in a lifetime.

Brian
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

” if there had been no Credo and then OK Cupid boycott followed by media firestorm, Eich would still likely be CEO. The Credo boycott was helped by Hampton Catlin’s pulling his game from Mozilla Marketplace”

I am perplexed at this idea that LGBT people are required to subsidize their own oppression. That LGBT people withholding their money from someone who has (and who, for all we know since he refused to explain where he is now on the issue, will continue to) donate to anti-LGBT causes is some kind of violation of Eich’s human rights. Why should LGBT people spend money on companies headed by people who will use their earnings to oppress us? Doesn’t a historically marginalized, still-unequal group reserve the right to use self-defense and NOT spend their hard earned money on people who will use it against them?

I do think that we should have this debate to clarify where we stand on issues like this. As some comments above insinuated, if this were presented as a tactical issue, the response may have been different. We know from LGBT history that things like “zaps” and other tactics targeting people for their anti-gay speech have an inconsistent record of success. If the letter had been titled something like, “Pick your battles” or pointed out how targeting everyone with a bad view on SSM could get exhausting and lead to backlash/public fatigue that would have been one thing, and I would have been more sympathetic.

However, I suspect the letter writers (whoever they are) are gay conservatives who are hawking a gay conservative belief: that banning same sex marriage is just another “view” on par with support of SSM. Since they just assumed this viewpoint, the entire letter is a hot question-begging mess that went over like a lead balloon. And they delivered this spurious view via the classic “PC-thugs out to get sensible conservatives” narrative repeated ad nauseum by the Right.

None of this rhetoric will change the reality that there are not two equal sides here. One side is trying to deny public, civil rights to another; the other is defending themselves against that attack.

Marginalized groups reserve the right to exercise self-defense with their own money and withhold funds from powerful people, organizations, etc., that act against them. Whether or not it is tactically prudent to do so all the time is another question–one the letter did not engage at all.

Brian
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

“Who initiated the petition?

It is blatantly a Republican election year ploy, though some of the signers got sucked into signing it for other reasons.

Who initiated it?

To understand what is really going on with it, we must know who initiated it.”

A more intriguing question for me is “who is the intended audience?” This letter strikes me as something not written with LGBT readers in mind. How else could they have made the assumptions they did?

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Brian said “I do think that we should have this debate to clarify where we stand on issues like this. As some comments above insinuated, if this were presented as a tactical issue, the response may have been different.”.

I didn’t just insinuate this, I directed it very pointedly to the blog writers and they ignored it.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

…. A couple of times.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

I think Rob and Timothy are more concerned about getting us to believe anti-gays can be respectful and nice people than they are about getting us to treat them as though they are respectful and nice.l

Scott Rose
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

The petition is directed at conservative-leaning independent voters. Its message is that anti-gay bigotry is no biggie. And its goal is to get independent voters to vote for anti-gay-rights Republicans in 2014, on the basis that the anti-gay-rights stances are no biggie.

StraightGrandmother
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

I concur with Scott Rose, with Brian and with Priya Lynn. I would like to know the original authors of this letter. Jim/Rob/Tim you guys signed it. Who is the original author? Thanks.

And Brian keep on commenting. You have a powerful voice and a good way with words. I liked when you wrote,

However, I suspect the letter writers (whoever they are) are gay conservatives who are hawking a gay conservative belief: that banning same sex marriage is just another “view” on par with support of SSM. Since they just assumed this viewpoint, the entire letter is a hot question-begging mess that went over like a lead balloon. And they delivered this spurious view via the classic “PC-thugs out to get sensible conservatives” narrative repeated ad nauseum by the Right.

I feel the same way.

Which if you go back on Box Turtle Bulletin when we were first criticized by Jom for applying Social Pressure on Eich, is exactly what I was saying. I said it in a different way. Jim et al were pinkwashing this from a Civil Rights issue to mere political speech and people were entitled to have different political points of view. I strongly objected to that.I would not let them demote Civil Rights, and Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities is a Fundamental Constitutional Civil Right, I would not let them demote Civil Rights to merely political speech. I never yielded that point and I STILL do not yield that point, which is why all this hand holding of our opponents that this letter supports, I reject.

I am asking Jim/Tim/Rob/Randy to consider OUR arguments and take their name off that letter. Just do it. Contact whoever it is that started it and take your name off. There is no shame in having second thoughts and after reading the arguments of your readers I think we have better arguments. There is no shame in correcting, no shame at all. Take your name off the letter.

Scott Rose
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

The petition signers appear to be listed in chronological, not alphabetical order. The first of the signers is Jonathan H. Adler, a married heterosexual and a “states rights” loon. He thinks that courts should not consider cases brought by gay plaintiffs wishing to marry. He thinks that state legislatures and/or popular votes should approve, or disapprove of equal marriage. In other words, he thinks that in any other type of case, plaintiffs have normal rights to file lawsuits, but that when gay plaintiffs seeking marriage rights file lawsuits, the courts should throw their cases out.

THAT’s who fist signed that petition.

Scott Rose
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Here is Johnathan H. Adler’s position statement:

“I believe in recognition of same-sex marriage, but also believe that this is the sort of question entrusted to state governments under our constitutional system, and that, as with many questions of social policy about which I have strong preferences, different states are and should be free to come to different conclusions on the matter.”

Timothy Kincaid
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Scott Rose,

You figured it out! You broke the code!

Yes, the very first person to sign the Statement was Adler!

Followed, in order, by Anderson, Bix, Blankenhorn, Brown, Burroway, Calabresi…

Boris Hirsi
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy:

How clever, aren’t we trés amusant. What about actually answering the question: WHO drafted this and whose were the first signatures?

And my question remains unanswered: WHAT exactly are gay people allowed to do to protest unequal treatment?

And WHo are the people that should be exempt of all forms of protest (rich, white, privileged men and friends of Andrew Sullivan and who else?).

Rob Tisinai
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Boris, if you can show me where it says anyone should be “exempt of all forms of protest” I will gladly ask to have my signature removed.

Boris Hirsi
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

One of the most vicious and hateful anti-gay voices Janet Mefferd used your “message” and called it naive – she used it only as a tool the advance the idea that progeress of gay rights dangers Christians. AND YOU GIVE FUEL TO THESE VICIOUS VOICES. Hope you are proud of what you have done.

Quisling is most apt word to describe you all.

Brian
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

“Boris, if you can show me where it says anyone should be ‘exempt of all forms of protest’ I will gladly ask to have my signature removed.”

It doesn’t say that, directly. However, by characterizing denying someone’s equal rights as a mere “disagreement” I think you’ve opened the door to that question. After all if denying someone’s civil rights is a mere “disagreement,” what else is a mere “disagreement?” Anti-sodomy laws? ENDA? “Religious exemptions?”

This is part of the problem. The document seems completely oblivious to the fact that our enemies have been characterizing ALL gay rights as a mere “disagreement” over the years.

Really the petition should be titled, “Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Deny that Freedom to Others: Why We Must Have Both.” Because that’s what you’re saying.

Richard Rush
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

StraightGrandmother, I will be thinking about you on Tuesday, hoping that your hip replacement goes very well. Please report back to us when you get a chance.

Rob Tisinai
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Brian, it doesn’t characterize all cases of denying someone’s equal rights as mere disagreement. Nor does it say that disagreement can never be the cause of protest. Nor does it say anyone “must have” the freedom to deny marriage to others. We may be using the words differently, but I don’t believe that having the freedom to advocate a policy is the same as having the freedom to implement a policy. For instance, I think no state should have the freedom to impose the death penalty, but I do think people should have the freedom to advocate for the death penalty. I think people should have the freedom to advocate for all types of policies I think never should be implemented.

Jim Burroway
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

I’m not at liberty to talk about names of who “”wrote” the statement, but I will go into a brief discussion of how it came about. It came about in another email discussion about the Eich controversey, and someone simply piped up and said hey, let’s write a statement! (Imagine an old Andy Hardy movie about putting on a show.) We debated that for a few days, and then someone came back with a first draft. It was great, and it was awful, like all first drafts. Someone else “edited” it — I put it in quotes because that result looked very little like the first draft, even though it touched on many of the same principles. We argued over it, and then someone else who had not done either of the first two drafts took our arguments and edited a third draft. And so on. I think it went through 4 or 5 iterations, with 4 or 5 editors, and with about a dozen or so of us chiming in along the way before we were able to agree on a final draft that we could all support.

So as you can see, there’s no really “individual(s),” per se, involved. It was very much a group effort of perhaps a dozen or so people. After the final, final draft was completed, and we agreed to sign it, we then brought it out to our separate social/activist/professional networks. That’s when I shared it with Timothy, Rob and Randy for the first time. That’s also when most of the names you see on the statement saw it for the first time.

While I’m happy to share the process in which the statement was drafted, I don’t see the relevance in disclosing names beyond the names you see on the statement itself. We all signed the statement because of what it said, and not because of the many hands it passed through before it finally said it, nor because of the other signatories. In fact, I had no idea who most of the other signatories would be before I agreed to sign it, and as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter. The important points are found in the statement itself.

So if you want to critique the statement, critique it for what it says, and not for who you imagine may be saying it. But if you need to imagine who’s saying it when you’re critiquing it — if that helps you to formulate your thoughts — then feel free to imagine it’s me.

RainbowPhoenix
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Even without all the names, an explanation for the trainwreck is nice.

Michael Bussee
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Jim Burroway: Thanks for explaining the process and trying to actually answer the question. Even though I still have serious objections to the statement, it sure beats Mr. Kincaid’s sarcastic and evasive reply.

Would you be willing to respond to Boris’ inquiry: “And my question remains unanswered: WHAT exactly are gay people allowed to do to protest unequal treatment?”

Mr. Kincaid seemed to be saying that any sort of action that amounts to “punishing” is out of bounds, even though he didn’t apply that same standard to himself when he protested the owner of El Coyote (along with others) causing her to “pay dearly”.

Should those who support inequality suffer no consequences?

Timothy Kincaid
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Michael, it would be nice if you didn’t put words in my mouth. But, nevertheless, I won’t be fighting with you.

Have a very lovely Saturday night and a blessed Sunday.

Brian
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, when it comes to the civil rights of historically marginalized groups, I don’t separate “implementation” from “advocacy” (especially if that is in monetary form). If anti-LGBT legislation is implemented, those who advocated it are are responsible. They acted to deny LGBT people their rights. LGBT people therefore have the right to withhold their dollars from people who seek to do them harm–regardless of whether they think of their anti-LGBT advocacy as “bigotry” or not.

Second, the petition does not say what would be grounds for such a response–hence Boris’ question and the questions of many others along these lines. Based on the text of the petition, there is no compelling reason that opposition to same-sex marriage should not warrant such a response and advocacy for, say, sodomy laws or even the anti-LGBT laws in Uganda or Russia would warrant such a response.

Should this tactic of threatening boycotts be used at all when it comes to a powerful person’s/organization’s anti-gay advocacy? And if not in the case of same-sex marriage, why should it be used in other cases?

I stand by this though: we are under no obligation to support financially those who use might use their earnings against us. To suggest that we OWE such people our business–and yes, that is what you are indirectly suggesting because a boycott may indeed lead to the loss of a job–is outrageous.

Rob Tisinai
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Brian, do you believe people should be free to advocate policies that you oppose?

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

I can’t believe you asked that Rob.

Brian
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Yes.

Michael Bussee
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

They were your words, Timothy, not mine. You boycotted the place. I didn’t. You said she “paid dearly”. I didn’t. In fact, I have never boycotted a business.

I asked you why it was OK for you (and others) to cause the owner of El Coyote to “pay dearly” but that efforts to “punish” other opponents of equality were objectionable.

Sounds like a double standard to me.

Rob Tisinai
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

That’s what I thought, Brian. Which is why [requiring the freedom to oppose same sex marriage] is not the same as [requiring the freedom to deny the freedom to marry to others].

Michael Bussee
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Would someone at BTB please answer the legitimate questions that are being raised?

Brian asked:

“Should this tactic of threatening boycotts be used at all when it comes to a powerful person’s/organization’s anti-gay advocacy? And if not in the case of same-sex marriage, why should it be used in other cases?”

And it would be great to get a straight answer to Boris’ question:

“WHAT exactly are gay people allowed to do to protest unequal treatment?”

Baker
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, what is the point of your statement that “to oppose same-sex marriage is not the same as to deny the freedom to marry to others”? Prop 8 was designed to deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, -AND- it was a form of opposition to same-sex marriage, a form that was not a mere “disagreement of beliefs with no harm or hate”. It was not an intellectual panel discussion.

Timothy Kincaid
April 26th, 2014 | LINK

Michael,

It’s a very lovely night. Do enjoy it.

And if, after the spiritual renewal of a Sunday has filled your life with peace, you still want an answer to Brian’s question, take a moment to read Rob’s thoughtful suggestion

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2014/04/10/63898

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I couldn’t make sense of Rob’s last statment.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Brian, Priya, and Baker. Yes, my last statement was awkward, but so was the statement I was responding to to. Brian had said that instead of calling the statement, Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent: Why We Must Have Both, it should have been called, Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Deny that Freedom to Others: Why We Must Have Both.

However, once you support the freedom of people to advocate for a policy you think you should not be implemented (as Brian does), you realize Brian’s revised title is not appropriate,because requiring the freedom to oppose same sex marriage is not the same as requiring the freedom to deny the freedom to marry to others — or, to put it less awkwardly, saying that people should have the freedom to advocate a policy is not the same as saying they should have the freedom to impose it.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Michael: “WHAT exactly are gay people allowed to do to protest unequal treatment?”

What do you mean by “allowed”? Do you mean, “What is permitted?” or “What do I personally support?”

If the second, I’d answer: Protests, boycotts, arguments, persuasion, social pressure, sit-ins, and a variety of other tools, all of which I’ve actually participated in. But I don’t see how any of that is relevant given that no one has alleged unequal treatment of employees at Mozilla. I’m happy to answer a revised question if you like.

Vira
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I will look forward to a similar defense of Donald Sterling’s right of free spech by Mssrs. Burroway, Tisinai, and Kincaid.

Thom Watson
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob: “However, once you support the freedom of people to advocate for a policy you think you should not be implemented (as Brian does), you realize Brian’s revised title is not appropriate,because requiring the freedom to oppose same sex marriage is not the same as requiring the freedom to deny the freedom to marry to others — or, to put it less awkwardly, saying that people should have the freedom to advocate a policy is not the same as saying they should have the freedom to impose it.”

But wasn’t Eich, in fact, by donating to Prop 8, an initiative designed to strip the right to marry — and at the time the proponents argued that it would even annul existing marriages — operating under the assumption that he, as part of a majority, /could/ impose that denial of the freedom to marry? Eich wasn’t just advocating a position, he was assisting in having that position imposed within the California Constitution. For those who supported Prop 8 either by vote or financially, like Eich, isn’t [the freedom to oppose same sex marriage] /precisely/ the same as [the freedom to deny the freedom to marry to others]?

Timothy/Jim/Rob: I mean this without snark, and am honestly curious: Do you believe that calls for Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers — i.e., remove himself from the ownership role — are similarly wrong? From the position of the petition, Sterling and Eich would seem at a minimum to be in the same boat, since there’s no evidence that Sterling’s ownership of the team has resulted in any uneven treatment of players of different races; arguably, given the distinction between [the freedom to oppose group x] and [the freedom to deny right y to group x] Sterling’s transgression even could be seen as less bad than Eich’s, since Sterling isn’t trying to deny, by vote, donation, or constitutional amendment, any rights to African-Americans or Mexicans. Are Sterling’s racist statements similarly harmful, more harmful, or less harmful than Eich’s financial support for amending the constitution to remove and deny a civil right; do these statements render Sterling similarly, more, or less subject to negative actions against him (as opposed to just opprobrium) than Eich’s action; and why?

Michael Bussee
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Thanks, Rob, for answering my question. I also support using all of things you mentioned as legitimate tools to promote equality: Protests, boycotts, arguments, persuasion, social pressure, sit-ins.

Would you be willing to answer another?

In your opinion, should these tools only be used when a particular battle (like Prop 8) is currently being fought and not once that battle is won? Is that the essential difference you see between why it is OK to boycott El Coyote and not OK for Eich to suffer consequences?

Robert
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Conservatives always talk about accountability. Yet they don’t want to take responsibility for their own actions. That is why it is so galling to see anti-gay activists like Ken Mehlman and David Blankenhorn hawking this petition. After what they did to the gay community, they should at least have the decency not to pretend that they are now the leaders of the quest for equal rights.

For consistency sake, I expect to see Jim Burroway, Rob Tisinai, and Timothy Kincaid post a blog here asking us to to support L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling and denounce those who are calling for his scalp as a result of his racist comments. (Oh, I forgot, homophobes get a pass, but racists don’t.)

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Michael, I wasn’t really involved in the El Coyote boycott, never wrote about it, and didn’t frequent the restaurant anyway. More generally, though, I see a difference between saying, “I will not financially support an organization or business that uses this money to take away my rights,” and “I will not financially support an organization or business until it purges every employee who wants to take away my rights.”

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Thomas, the distinction is that I don’t see opposition to same sex marriage the same as necessarily the same as regarding gays as inferior human beings. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. It differs from person to person.

Michael Bussee
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

“There was no mainstream gay rights organization calling for his head. No one “bullied” Mr. Eich out of Mozilla’s headquarters. To say so is an insult to those of us who have been bullied in real life. And no cabal of intolerant gays proclaimed that disagreement with us merits unemployment. That seems to be a bogeyman conjured up in the prolific brain of Andrew Sullivan.

Although this was a legitimate board decision, Mr. Eich did do two things wrong: He took actions that were specifically intended to harm others and he made it worse by refusing to discuss those actions. Those who turned to demonize a straw man of intolerant “gay activists” miss these two facts.” ~ Air Ezra Waldman

http://www.towleroad.com/2014/04/the-fall-of-brendan-eich-happened-without-us.html

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob said “Thomas, the distinction is that I don’t see opposition to same sex marriage the same as necessarily the same as regarding gays as inferior human beings.”.

But it is necesarily the same. The idea that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry doesn’t appear in a person’s mind without reason. You can’t get to “Gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry” without also believing gays are bad or inferior.

Just because someone expresses that opposition in a soft spoken manner and doesn’t get angry doesn’t mean they don’t think of gays as inferior or bad – they all most certainly do.”

Ben in Oakland
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, I rarely disagree with you, but here I’m going to. There are three reasons I could see for opposing same sex marriage.

1) I hate queers.

2) I am superior to queers.

3) I believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

#3 would be the position that people who merely oppose same sex marriage could take. But I don’t think I have EVER heard any person just leave it at that. All it takes is a slight scratch on the fresh opposition paint to find a whole lot of bright shiny bigot underneath. Whether religious bigot or plain old bigot doesn’t matter.

Jim Burroway
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Michael Bussee,

Air Ezra Waldman, at least in the short section you quoted, is so wrong on the facts it leaves me to conclude that there’s no point in reading the rest. If people are going to criticize us, I wish to hell they’d at least have the simple integrity go back and re-read what I wrote originally and what we signed our names to in the statement before making up things out of the air about what those statements supposedly say.

Nowhere have we said that any mainstream gay rights organizations called for his head. Nowhere did we even say any gay activists did so. We didn’t even lay the blame on the gay community itself, although we did point out — and it is an undeniable fact, so there’s no point in pretending otherwise — that there were a lot of LGBT individuals and allies calling for his head.

Nowhere have I said that anyone was “bullied”. Until I just now wrote that, the word has never left this keyboard with regard to the Eich affair. That also doesn’t appear in the statement.

And yes, the net effect of those calls were that disagreement with us merits unemployment. No “cabal”, for sure, whatever that’s supposed to mean. But that most certainly WAS the the goal of those who were calling for his removal. Again, that is an undeniable fact, and it does not serve Waldman well to try to pretend otherwise.

And Eich did not “refuse to discuss” his actions. He offered quite specifically to discuss them.

And so, Eich’s fall didn’t happen “without us,” if by “us” you mean anyone who called for his removal. Arguing over exactly who “us” is is pedantic at this point. When something happens that is supposed to be on our behalf and if we don’t believe it is right, then it is incumbent on us to speak up. Otherwise, we are, in effect, endorsing what happened. And by the comments I’m seeing here, those comments suggest that we’d demand anyone else’s unemployment if we found out they too disagreed with us.

Boris Hirsi
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

The revised title by Brian was most appropriate and described the content of your heinous letter to a tee.

And Jim: you have the audacity to demand that we read what you have written (as we have) and believe that in reality you meant something that is not there but YOU have the gall to say about Ezra “it leaves me to conclude that there’s no point in reading the rest.”

Isn’t hypocrisy so much fun? What’s next: another sanctiminious letter that condemsn the atatements about negros by Cliven Bundy? because Cliven Bundy is nice to cows, he should not be critoicised?

Maybe you can pen a letter that objects to critics of Donald Sterling?

I know that you do have problem with the word “fuck” so I refrain from saying “fuck you quisling”.

Merv
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I’ll add my voice to the chorus requesting a comment about the effort to force Donald Sterling to give up his ownership position at the LA Clippers following the revelation of private racist comments he made to his mistress. Magic Johnson says he is boycotting the games as long as Sterling is owner. I’ve seen no evidence of racial discrimination against his employees; the coach and almost all of the players are black.

Brian
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

“Thomas, the distinction is that I don’t see opposition to same sex marriage the same as necessarily the same as regarding gays as inferior human beings. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. It differs from person to person.”

This is the crux of the debate, is it not? My first comment argued that the letter just assumed that this was the truth and all but labeled those who do not hold this position, and take action based on that difference of opinion, as anti-pluralistic.

We have now had a few comments comparing this to the Donald Sterling flap. To many in the LGBT community, what Eich did is as bad as–and probably worse than–what Sterling said. You may not like their view, but it’s a very common view in this community.

So, as Neil Degrasse Tyson might say, “Let’s do a thought experiment.” If you put yourself in the position of those who view what Eich did as just as bad, if not worse than what Sterling said or even what Cliven Bundy said, and you read this petition, wouldn’t it, in effect, be saying that we cannot respond to egregious acts of anti-gay bigotry? Now, if you think that characterization of what Eich did is wrong, then you need to make that argument more forcefully.

But this view is the one you have spent the least amount of time responding to (except for your “in my personal experience…” argument). Instead, you have complained about people responding to what’s “not” in the petition. Well, people are responding to the end logic of the petition, based on their conceptualization of the egregiousness of Eich’s actions.

I also reread your (Rob’s) post about Eich on April 10:

“In short, we’d engage the CEO through both reason and emotion, by making a logical case and by expanding the CEO’s personal experience with gays and lesbians and our families. I see two possible outcomes, and ultimately we would win no matter which prevailed.”

You (Rob) go on to say that even if the outcome is that we don’t change the CEO’s mind that there would be a beneficial public conversation on LGBT families.

This strikes me as rather Pollyannaish. Sometimes it is the threat of social repercussions that even gets a person to the conversation table in the first place. It is the outcry and threat of political action that makes the story national news and a public debate in the first place.

With respect to Sterling, it is only because there is a hue and cry that he has to backtrack, explain away and I think, eventually, apologize. I would prefer that people, especially organizations that look out for black people’s interests take the opportunity to engage in dialogue with Sterling and the nation about stereotypes, the complexity of racism (he has a black girlfriend for crying out loud!), etc. They probably won’t; but the opportunity would not exist were it not for the heat that came about because of what he said.

The threat of social repercussions for bigoted deeds/statements is important. That weapon must be in our arsenal. We reserve the right to use it. There are numerous problems with overuse of it, and so I reiterate, a serious discussion on when and where to use it is necessary. But this petition is not a starting point for such a discussion. It categorically disqualifies the use of social repercussions for deeds or statements that target vulnerable minorities as anti-pluralistic. At the very least, the petition excludes protest that even has the “consequence” (that word is actually used) of someone losing their job–which is a possible outcome of virtually any public outrage over something someone does or says.

Appendix: Though I still think that Eich’s contribution amounted to “denying others that right” (or at least he ACTED to do so), in light of your (Rob’s) comments, perhaps the revised title should be: “Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Advocate Taking that Freedom: Why We Must Have Both.”

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Ben,

‘X = bigot’ is a formula which holds only until you encounter X who is not a bigot. I have. And I suspect that you likely have as well.

For example, SD Mayor Jerry Sanders opposed same-sex marriage. So much so that he scheduled a press conference to veto a supportive resolution.

And then he was scratched, and underneath turned out to be the opposite of a bigot. He had always been a supporter of the community. But his old prejudices had blocked his ability to understand who domestic partnerships were not enough.

Many many MANY people have had this same discovery. Many many MANY more will.

They don’t all hate you. They don’t all think they are superior to you. They just haven’t yet been scratched.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

If you put yourself in the position of those who view what Eich did as just as bad, if not worse than what Sterling said or even what Cliven Bundy said, and you read this petition, wouldn’t it, in effect, be saying that we cannot respond to egregious acts of anti-gay bigotry? Now, if you think that characterization of what Eich did is wrong, then you need to make that argument more forcefully.

Brian, no one has made the case that this petition says we “cannot respond to egregious acts of anti-gay bigotry.” It’s a straw man to say that this petitions says we must never respond.

Thanks for adjusting the title. I’m okay with that revision, which should be no surprise to you, since we agree that people should be free to advocate policies we oppose.

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, you haven’t met anyone who opposes marriage that is not a bigot. What you describe with SD mayor Jerry Sanders is somone who went from being a bigot to a supporter.

Opposition to marriage equality doesn’t exist in a person for no reason. You can’t get to “I oppose equality” if you don’t first see gays as bad or inferior. They may not all hate us, but they most certainly all think they’re superior to us or that we’re bad in some way.

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Just because someone talks pleasently to you about how they opppose marriage equality doesn’t mean they don’t see you as bad or inferior.

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I treat dogs and cats nicely and speak pleasently to them but I don’t see them as my equals.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

If you believe that Jerry Sanders was a “bigot” on the day before he decided to support same-sex marriage, then you and I use that word differently.

Baker
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, you talk about “once you support the freedom of people to advocate for a policy you think you should not be implemented,” but the petition comes as across as non-supportive of people’s freedom to advocate for things that you don’t support, e.g. what you call “punishment”.

Regarding punishment, why shouldn’t the donors to Prop 8 who “used money to take away my rights” be punished? According to the petition,
“We should criticize opposing views, not punish or suppress them”, but that does not adequately substantiate that punishment is not also appropriate. The petition attempts to frame it as “punishing the misguided for believing incorrectly will impoverish society intellectually and oppress it politically”, but without judging that unsubstantiated claim, a donation to Prop 8 is not a belief. It is an act. So too, advocating for and enacting the elimination of minority rights is also an act, not merely a belief. Punishment for acts of wrongdoing has long been a common practice in society. The petition says “People must be allowed to be wrong in order to continually test what is right,” but again the petition ignores that it’s not just that people “are” wrong but that they have also done wrong and caused harm. Thus, the petition might be read as saying “in order to test what is right, people must not be punished for causing harm.”

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I have read here some comments which seek to draw a distinction between punishing Eich for his views and beliefs and punishing him for his behavior. I’m not sure that this is a valid distinction.

I very much doubt that anyone is arguing that the act of contributing to a political campaign is, itself, cause for punishment. Many many of us contribute to campaigns of various sorts (and if you don’t then perhaps you should consider doing so).

Rather, it was the campaign to which Eich contributed that is considered punishable. If one holds that contributing to the water bond deserves no punishment but contributing to a campaign which advances a view with which one disagrees is cause for withholding employment, then we are right back at punishment for views and beliefs.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Baker, I think that people should have the freedom to advocate punishment, to push for Eich’s resignation. I also think they’re wrong to do so. But as I’ve said, I support the freedom of people to advocate for a policy I think should not be implemented.

Jack
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

“I treat dogs and cats nicely and speak pleasently to them but I don’t see them as my equals.”

My cat directed me to type that he concurs. We are not equals.

Baker
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, you claim “Eich did not ‘refuse to discuss’ his actions. He offered quite specifically to discuss them.”

But I recall that he was asked: “If you had the opportunity to donate to a Proposition 8 cause today, would you do so?” And he responded, “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.”

And again, he was asked: “You haven’t really explicitly laid it out, so I’ll just ask you: how do you feel gay-marriage rights? How did you feel about it in 2008, and how do you feel about it today?” And again he responded: “I prefer not to talk about my beliefs.”

For some reason, I don’t read his responses (above) as saying “He offered quite specifically to discuss his actions.” Can you cite where he did so? I recall that he also said, “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.” Is that what you’re referring to?

Baker
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, you write, “If one holds that contributing to the water bond deserves no punishment but contributing to a campaign which advances a view with which one disagrees is cause for withholding employment, then we are right back at punishment for views and beliefs.”

I think people do “view” and “believe” that paying more for water is different than rape of another kind, and that different acts can cause different kinds of harm which can be cause for different reactions / punishments. In terms of employment, if an applicant tells me that he “views and believes” rape to not be a big deal, I would treat that differently than if he were to say he thought paying a little more for water wasn’t a big deal. Perhaps you call it “punishment for beliefs”, but I call it “actions have consequences”.

Baker
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, you say “I support the freedom of people to advocate for a policy I think should not be implemented.” And in some ways that’s true. But your signature on the petition and advocacy against policies that you think should not be implemented may also say to people that you don’t.

Aaron Logan
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

It seems that calling for someone to be fired for their political views is beyond the pale. I can agree with that. I can’t agree that it’s beyond the pale to suggest that a person’s support in the form of past donations to causes and politicians whose views are inconsistent with your corporations’s values and the corporate culture in which your company is situated ought not to be the CEO of that company. It also seems wrong to ask someone to implement a corporation’s values that are antithetical to one’s own.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Baker, I don’t understand why.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Baker,

My point is that what we are talking about in this situation is not behavior, it’s belief.

You are saying that “actions have consequences”, but it isn’t action that is having consequences. It’s belief.

You aren’t asserting that “donating politically” is punishable. So if you believe that “donating politically to Prop 8″ is punishable, then it isn’t the donating part you object to, it’s the Prop 8 part.

It isn’t the action of donating that you want to have consequences, but rather the belief behind the donating. So what you advocate is actually “beliefs have consequences”.

Baker
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, do you support putting same-sex marriage up for popular vote?

Steve
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I eagerly await a vigorous denouncement of the criticism against Donald Stirling.

Of course if there will even be anything besides snide comments, it’s a tortured explanation of how that is totally different.

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy said “If you believe that Jerry Sanders was a “bigot” on the day before he decided to support same-sex marriage, then you and I use that word differently.”.

Its a continuum Timothy. Just as Bernie Madoff and the 8 year old that steals a candy bar are both thieves, Jerry Sanders on that day and Peter Labarbera were both bigots. Sanders was only slightly a bigot but he was still a bigot up until the very second he decided to support same sex marriage.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

And this illustrates why we do not communicate. We may use similar words, but they have vastly different meanings to us.

So again I predict only futility and frustration in attempting to engage.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Baker
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, I appreciate that you say we are talking about belief not behavior in this situation, but a donation in support of Prop 8 is not simply a belief. It’s a behavior that does, and which may reasonably be seen as intended to, further both objectionable behavior and objectionable belief.

And yes, I am asserting that “donating politically” is punishable. It might not be punishable as a crime on the books, but it’s obviously punishable in the social sphere, and I do not say whether that should or shouldn’t be the case. Rather, I point out that it is the case, and I can see both reasons for and against it, as well as both good and bad effects.

In regard to a donation in support of Prop 8, I don’t believe that it’s genuine to divorce “the donating part” from “the Prop 8 part”. It’s not “just” a donation. It’s a donation in support of Prop 8.

And no, it’s not just “the belief behind the donating” that’s objectionable. The act of donating to Prop 8 also furthers/promotes/causes an objectionable belief among the public as well as an objectionable act (e.g. the elimination of a right to marry), even if there was no intent by the donor to do so. And thus, the act of donating to Prop 8 can also be held to be objectionable, apart from any “belief behind the donating”.

As to “actions have consequences” vs “beliefs have consequences”, you can “hold” whatever beliefs you want, but when you open your mouth, give money or vote at the polls, that’s action and it has consequences.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Baker, if we can win that way, then I would support it. I certainly support the activists who are working hard to reverse their states’ constitutional ban at the ballot box.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Steve, I did address that in an exchange with Thom Watson on this thread, and I did so without snide comments. If you’re opposed to snide comments, I’d ask you to set that same standard for yourself, because you haven’t so far.

Brian
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

“Brian, no one has made the case that this petition says we ‘cannot respond to egregious acts of anti-gay bigotry.’ It’s a straw man to say that this petitions says we must never respond.”

And I think you are in denial about what this petition actually says.

I was careless in my wording in this sentence which gave you an excuse to ignore the overall point. Not just “respond” but respond in a way that has “consequences” resulting in a loss of job–which is clear from the context of the rest of the post.

My point was that Eich’s actions constitute an egregious act of anti-gay bigotry to many–an act that warrants a response that could have the “consequence” of him losing his job. Just as Sterling’s words may have “consequences” that affect his standing in his job (though he is very well protected from forced resignation/firing according to an interview on the BBC I heard this morning).

If it is not ok to respond in this way to Eich, it is not ok in any instance in which a person advocates for something that is anti-gay–including advocacy for Uganda’s and Russia’s laws.

As far as your “freedom to advocate this or that” argument, I believe that one has the “freedom” (that is, freedom from social consequences, not freedom from legal sanction which is one’s absolute right) to advocate for a position with an exception: actions that harm historically oppressed groups. Why? Two principles:

1. Protection of historically oppressed minorities is a priority of liberal democracy just as important as a free exchange of ideas. Unchecked bigotry poses a clear and present danger to democracy and is, in fact, toxic to a free exchange of ideas. Taking Prop 8 as an example, the Prop 8 campaigners used outright lies, fear-mongering and appeals to base instincts to win.

2. The right of historically oppressed groups to defend themselves against speech and political action that harms them.

The response to Eich is a principled response. It is a response rooted in the ideas of liberal democracy. It has just as much to do with “freedom” as a free exchange of ideas. But you are insinuating that we just want to “chill speech” willy-nilly for those who advocate for any “policies we oppose” as if denying a historically marginalized group fundamental civil rights is in the same ballpark as any old policy debate. Talk about straw men!

StraightGrandmother
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Yes Brian that is exactly the way I read Open Letter, as you describe below
Brian:

The threat of social repercussions for bigoted deeds/statements is important. That weapon must be in our arsenal. We reserve the right to use it. There are numerous problems with overuse of it, and so I reiterate, a serious discussion on when and where to use it is necessary. But this petition is not a starting point for such a discussion. It categorically disqualifies the use of social repercussions for deeds or statements that target vulnerable minorities as anti-pluralistic. At the very least, the petition excludes protest that even has the “consequence” (that word is actually used) of someone losing their job–which is a possible outcome of virtually any public outrage over something someone does or says.

And I get that from this art of the letter:

But we are concerned that recent events, including the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla under pressure because of an anti-same-sex- marriage donation he made in 2008, signal an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree. We reject that deeply illiberal impulse, which is both wrong in principle and poor as politics.

The Letter says you REJECT our right to punish. Always. The way you made is always wrong is because you called it “wrong in Principal.”

If there is ONE paragraph that most triggers my gag reflex it is this one,

Any effort to impose conformity, through government or any other means, by punishing the misguided for believing incorrectly will impoverish society intellectually and oppress it politically.

You should have qualified that as ONLY if this applies to Gays. For Racial and Ethnic Minorities it is perfectly acceptable to PUNISH as society just did to Justine Saccoo with her,” Going to Africa hope I don’t get AIDS,” Tweet and now with Donald Sterling.

THIS, THIS is the MOST BULLSHIT part of the statement,

by punishing the misguided for believing incorrectly will impoverish society intellectually and oppress it politically

That part is complete Bullshit. No, Hell NO, calling out and punishing racism, and opposition to the Civil Rights of Sexual Minorities will NOT EVER impoverish society intellectually. In fact we must do this. We MUST punish people who are racist and fighting to deny sexual minorities Equal Civil Rights. Are we going to punish ALL of them? No. But we decided to with Eich, he had his damned chance. He was first engaged and he fell short. Instead of saying, “I Personally Oppose but Publicly Support the Equal Civil Rights to a Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities” Instead of saying that, he said basically , “Well I have to think of my customers in Indonesia who do NOT agree with same gender Civil Marriage.” Eich Doubled Down and then I am proud to say the gay rights community didn’t take it laying down but fought back to punish him. I helped, not a big effort. perhaps 2 dozen tweets over 2 weeks but I helped.

This letter says I am WRONG ON PRINCIPAL to have done so and I reject that. Jim nor Rob, nor Tim will respond to Brian’s paragraph which I quoted above.

StraightGrandmother
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Tim,
You are dong exactly what I accused Jim of doing, you are demoting contributing to organizations (not the Republican party) but organizations whose purpose is to deny Civil Rights of Sexual Minorities, you have demoted that to “Political Speech.” You did that right here:

I very much doubt that anyone is arguing that the act of contributing to a political campaign is, itself, cause for punishment. Many many of us contribute to campaigns of various sorts (and if you don’t then perhaps you should consider doing so).

Rather, it was the campaign to which Eich contributed that is considered punishable.

Baker
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, you say “if we can win that way, then I would support it,” but putting the issue up for a popular vote is part of “the freedom of people to advocate for a policy”, and thus you seem to be saying that your support for “the freedom of people to advocate for a policy” is conditioned upon whether you can win that way.

Boris Hirsi
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy: “My point is that what we are talking about in this situation is not behavior, it’s belief.”

So if you beat up a gay man yourself, it is a behavior but if you hire someone and/or pay someone to beat up a gay man, it is a “belief”.

Well, that clarified your stance quite well.

Vira
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Headline: “NAACP Drops Plan to Honor Clippers’ Owner Sterling In Wake of Racist Recordings”

Hurry, boys. The persecution of Mr. Sterling for PRIVATE SPEECH is about to get out of hand.

And Sterling is in an (arguably) infinitely more defensible position than Eich in that:

1) His racist remarks were made in private, and released without is knowledge are acquiescence;

2) As a business owner, he has employed a majority of African-Americans, paying many of them MILLIONS of dollars in salary (never mind Elgin Baylor’s wrongful termination suit);

3)As a community philanthropist, he has apparently been active and supportive enough of African-Americans (at least in public) to have been awarded a LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT award.

How inconvenient for the three of you that Mr. Sterling provides such a devastating real-life, reality-based refutation of your masturbative missive, and on such a timely basis, but if you can’t reconcile the ‘unfairness’ of Sterling’s treatment with that of Eich, your argument falls completely apart, and your credibility (with a supporter of Gay Equality and Marriage Equality like me) utterly collapses.

The letter on which your signatures appear is a disgusting display of wrong-headed condescension toward supporters of LGBT equality, and a bald act of appeasement toward all would-be/wannabe Gay bashers who oppose Equality. I do not think that I will ever regard anything written by any of the three of you with the same degree of credibility, or afford anything you write the same weight.

I can not imagine what you got out of signing on to such a dubious and specious public statement, and I wonder if you will ever acknowledge regret at having done so. I also have to wonder if you see page views on this site plummet for one month, or two months, or three months, if you might be spurred to reconsider.

Again, please hurry to the Public Square with your defense of Mr.Sterling before the NBA wrongfully deposes him from his position of ownership. Time is of the essence.

Scott Rose
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH VIRA:

How inconvenient for the three of you that Mr. Sterling provides such a devastating real-life, reality-based refutation of your masturbative missive, and on such a timely basis, but if you can’t reconcile the ‘unfairness’ of Sterling’s treatment with that of Eich, your argument falls completely apart, and your credibility (with a supporter of Gay Equality and Marriage Equality like me) utterly collapses.
The letter on which your signatures appear is a disgusting display of wrong-headed condescension toward supporters of LGBT equality, and a bald act of appeasement toward all would-be/wannabe Gay bashers who oppose Equality. I do not think that I will ever regard anything written by any of the three of you with the same degree of credibility, or afford anything you write the same weight.
I can not imagine what you got out of signing on to such a dubious and specious public statement, and I wonder if you will ever acknowledge regret at having done so. I also have to wonder if you see page views on this site plummet for one month, or two months, or three months, if you might be spurred to reconsider.
Again, please hurry to the Public Square with your defense of Mr.Sterling before the NBA wrongfully deposes him from his position of ownership. Time is of the essence.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Baker, you’re going to have to amplify that, because I don’t see your logic at all. Again, whether I actually support something is completely from whether I believe people should have the freedom to advocate for that thing.

Thom Watson
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob: “Thomas, the distinction is that I don’t see opposition to same sex marriage the same as necessarily the same as regarding gays as inferior human beings. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. It differs from person to person.”

Regarding Eich, though, we’re not talking about mere opposition to same-sex marriage, i.e., speech, we’re talking about his very real support of an initiative to strip civil rights from other people, and to write discrimination into a state’s constitution. Regardless of the actual right being stripped, or the group from whom it’s being stripped.

Timothy: “If one holds that contributing to the water bond deserves no punishment but contributing to a campaign which advances a view with which one disagrees is cause for withholding employment, then we are right back at punishment for views and beliefs.”

A water bond doesn’t strip rights from an unfavored minority. It doesn’t enshrine discrimination in the constitution. If you really think that financially supporting Prop 8 was only “advancing a view,” and not in fact participating in an act of majoritarian tyranny to rewrite California’s constitution to express a moral position regarding homosexuality, then you’re right that there’s no point in talking further because we disagree about fundamental points of language. “Withholding employment” is an interesting way of framing the debate, too, given that I, at least, and many if not most others, didn’t actually call for Eich to be fired from Mozilla, only that he might not be the best fit for leadership. Personally I would be strongly opposed to such calls that people be denied employment at all, no matter how reprehensible their beliefs, but I don’t think anyone is entitled to any /specific/ job, and that one’s speech and action can make one unsuitable for many specific jobs, though not for employment in general. We disagree that Eich in the CEO role is one example of such.

Interestingly, I didn’t even support calls for Eich’s resignation from the CEO position at first, at least not based solely on his donation to Prop 8. I was distressed by his donation, but willing to write it off as ancient history. But it was his creepy, messianic interview with CNET — paraphrased, only Mozilla can save the world, and I alone can save Mozilla, I have to worry about what anti-gay people in Indonesia think — and his refusal to say that he would not vote again to enshrine discrimination in a constitution that finally led me to accept that he was not the right person to lead Mozilla, not because of his anti-gay actions specifically, but because he showed a very real gap between Mozilla’s stated culture and its executive staff. Even during the midst of the outcry over Mozilla’s elevation of him to CEO, he couldn’t lead properly, offering rather that very weird, tone-deaf, and completely unleader-like interview.

Thom Watson
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Oops, I seem to have truncated one of my thoughts, leaving only a fragment.

Where I wrote, “Regardless of the actual right being stripped, or the group from whom it’s being stripped,” it should be followed with “engaging in an initiative to do so is an action, an action predicated in the belief that one can strip rights from other people by majority vote, and is not merely speech.”

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Again, Vira, setting up an equivalence between Eich and Sterling mean accepting that opposition to same-sex marriage is necessarily equivalent to bigotry against gay people. But I don’t believe that, so it’s easy for me to reject the equivalence between Eich and Sterling. I’m working on a separate post for this question, so I’ll leave it there for now.

Meanwhile:

I also have to wonder if you see page views on this site plummet for one month, or two months, or three months, if you might be spurred to reconsider.

There seems to be a consistent current of this sentiment running through the thread, but I didn’t expect to see it stated so clearly. This attitude is troubling. Whether what I believe is true is completely independent of whether many people agree with me or just a few.

Thom Watson
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Randy: “Specifically, it is simply not reality that someone who voted for Prop 8 has a clear animus against gay people or sees us as inferior. Yes, logically, this would seem to be the case: Prop 8 harmed LGBT families so, therefore, anyone who voted for it decided explicitly to harm LGBT families. The reality, however, is far more complicated…”

Randy, setting aside the issue of “punishment,” for me the issue of Prop 8 goes beyond the anti-gay aspects, and supporting it was wrong at an even more basic level. Prop 8 put civil rights that the state Supreme Court had agreed were guaranteed in the constitution to a public vote; to support Prop 8 is an admission that one believes civil rights may be given or taken away at will, by majority fiat. It is an admission that one does not accept that we live in a constitutional republic that is supposed to safeguard minority rights, but rather in a majoritarian democracy with all the pitfalls of majoritarian tyranny that would imply. It is an admission that one believes the constitution is a document in which to enshrine discrimination, in which to moralize about the lives of minorities. For me, that’s objectively wrong, and arguably anti-American, irrespective of which civil right and which minority is being impacted.

I emphatically don’t think holding such a position makes one ineligible for employment at all, but I think it’s a pretty clear warning sign that one might not necessarily be the best person to lead an organization, particularly an organization that claims that its culture is one of valuing diversity.

Vira
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

“Whether what I believe is true is completely independent of whether many people agree with me or just a few.”

Yes, but if a tree falls in the cyber-forrest, and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, I’d love to hear your defintion of bigot.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Vira,

I think we’ll take the risk that no one will hear us again. Not being heard is a far better situation than saying things one doesn’t believe.

StraightGrandmother
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Jim/Tim/Rob
Which of these statements do you agree with?

1)Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities is a Fundamental Constitutional Right.

2)Suppression of Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities is Prejudice EQUIVALENT to Racism (notice I did not say equal, I said equivalent). [It does not matter what is in the senders head, what matters is the effect on the person receiving the prejudice]

I really am asking all 3 of you to come back and answer my question. Which of these statements do you agree with? Thank you.

Baker
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, you say, “I believe people should have the freedom to advocate for that thing.” But who hasn’t and doesn’t already have that freedom? Mr. Eich had and still has the freedom to advocate for whatever, and he publicly exercised it. So did the people who raised a fuss in response. Surely freedom to dissent cannot reasonably mean freedom from all legal and social consequences. No one is free from that, and I don’t think anyone should be.

I don’t know why Mr. Eich exercised his freedom to resign from his job, same as I don’t know why he was even offered the job. I’m free to believe that perhaps he simply wasn’t cut out for it and used the circumstances as a cover for that. So who is not free? If someone made a donation and is concerned how the public might respond to that, I respect his freedom to be concerned, and I respect the public’s freedom to give him a lashing and to use Mr. Eich’s purported “punishment” as an example to “persuade” others to not do as he did. I also respect your freedom to sign what may actually be a strawman petition, and the freedom of those who might “punish” you for it. But who am I to judge whether the “punishment” is appropriate or not? Perhaps it’s all actually a blessing, not a punishment.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

SGM, I agree with 1, and I think 2 is true for some people and not for others, as long as were talking specifically about marriage.-

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I completely agree with Vira too. Its extremely hypocritical to say Eich should suffer no consequences for his actions and not defend Stirling in the same way.

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, do you believe some people that oppose equal rights for blacks are not bigots?

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Cause I don’t know how you can say some people who oppose marriage equality aren’t bigots and not say some people who oppose equality for blacks aren’t bigots.

Michael Bussee
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

To me, trying to deny others the same rights you enjoy is a litmus test of “bigotry”.

john
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

To the editors of BTB,

Thanks for standing behind this incredibly important principle, true freedom of expression without the chilling effect of an imposed orthodoxy.

StraightGrandmother
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Michael Bussee
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Uh oh. I think the Clippers might be trying to punish Donald Sterling in some way or stifle his right to free speech.

http://msn.foxsports.com/buzzer/story/clippers-turn-warmup-uniforms-inside-out-in-pregame-protest-042714

StraightGrandmother
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

john what is the definition of orthodoxy? Why here let me look it up for you,

“a belief or a way of thinking that is accepted as true or correct.”

I believe it is perfectly acceptable to *force* “a correct belief” that Sexual Minorities must have Equal Civil Rights, I believe that in *some cases* it is right to force that onto people. It is by no means the preferred way and I would say a last resort, but yes it is right to do that sometimes.

I would force it on a racist also, any day of the week, I would *force him/her* through Social Pressure that their racist views and *Actions* are WRONG.

Make sure you understand the word Orthodoxy.

Scott Rose
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

The thing is that Rob and the others don’t like being called self-loathing homosexuals, and yet they then say that the prejudice against gay people is morally superior to that of some white people against blacks.

That thought can only be nursed by a self-loathing homosexual.

StraightGrandmother
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

To recap so people don’t have to scroll, I asked this:
Jim/Tim/Rob
Which of these statements do you agree with?

1)Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities is a Fundamental Constitutional Right.

2)Suppression of Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities is Prejudice EQUIVALENT to Racism (notice I did not say equal, I said equivalent). [It does not matter what is in the senders head, what matters is the effect on the person receiving the prejudice]

Rob replied-
SGM, I agree with 1, and I think 2 is true for some people and not for others, as long as were talking specifically about marriage.-
————————-

Okay which sexual minorities are not receiving the *effect* of Predjudice Equivalent to Racism, when their Civil Rights are suppressed in Q2)?

john
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Martin Luther King, Jr, was right about many things and wrong about others.

Arguments from authority are just that, arguments devoid of intellectual substance.

The First Amendment is a natural right, it is not demanded but recognized through rational analysis of what it means to be a human being and is a hallmark of a flourishing civilized society.

Requiring others to pass ideological tests for employment resembles nothing so much as Stalinist Russia and is utterly alien to US values.

Vira
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

“There seems to be a consistent current of this sentiment running through the thread, but I didn’t expect to see it stated so clearly. This attitude is troubling.”

You do seem to be misreading a significant portion of your readership, and disconsonant with their philosophical perspective, and perhaps oblivious to the depth and intensity of the offense caused by The Letter.

Self-defense is not attack; self-defense is not ‘punishment’. That word choice ‘punishment’ very carefully manipulates and distorts the dynamic of what occurred with Eich. That word choice is inaccurate.

In any case, let me hasten to express my regret that you were unable to read my plainspoken remarks without feeling troubled. If I have caused you or others any discomfort, then I hope that by gaining greater understanding you will experience less discomfort in future when you hear similar remarks again, and again, and again.

“Not being heard is a far better situation than saying things one doesn’t believe.”

Then I’m sure you’ll understand if I (and perhaps many others) leave you to your fwapping.

Because not being insulted and condescended to is far better than benefiting from the nominal value of the insights and OPINIONS (not truths)expressed here. #JustNotWorthIt

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Actually, Vira, I was referring to something else entirely: the notion that you should change your views simply because they are unpopular.

john
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

In the US the most virulent bigot/racist/ homophobe has exactly the same right to his exprsss his/her views as the most enlightened among us, that’s what our Constitution explicitly recognizes. Canada and Europe, not so much.

So of course here, thankfully, you are quite powerless to force your views on anyone.

Already quite familiar with the definition of orthodoxy, it’s what Canada and Europe imposes through chilling speech codes, fear of litigation, fines etc. Truly disgusting.

Houndentenor
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

So now should we expect all these signers to come to Donald Sterling’s defense now that he’s being attacked over private comments? Silence so far. I’m waiting to hear how we have to honor the right of racists to express their views without retaliation. *crickets*

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

I do not believe prejudice against gay people is morally superior to that of some white people against blacks, nor have I ever said such a thing.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

StraightGrandmother,

You do realize, don’t you, that your asking a question of someone and demanding an answer does not create an obligation on their part to do so? Nevertheless, here are my answers:

1) this question is so laden with catch phrases that it lacks meaning altogether. And no, as I have no idea what you mean by “Sexual Minorities”, I don’t believe your statement.

I do believe, however, that US marriage laws which differentiate (whether explicitly or in application) against gay people are in violation of the Equal Protections provision of the US Constitution.

2) this is even more laden with broad undefined terms. And it is even less answerable.

For one thing, prejudice is not nor has it ever been equivalent to racism. It’s not even close.

Racism is an active and conscious way of structuring ones thinking and positions and behaviors. Prejudice is usually not conscience and often not ill intentioned. Prejudice is, literally, pre-judging, an inclination towards thinking ill towards someone based on old, often unexplored, assumptions.

For example, prejudice might make someone assume that a marriage opponent was Mormon or Baptist. It might make someone assume that a white male cis-gendered person’s views are suspect because they are blinded by privilege. Prejudice might make someone believe that a Republican who supports marriage equality only does so out of selfish motivation.

Those may be bigoted positions or they may merely be prejudice. And if they come from prejudice, they are no where near what you mean when you speak of racism.

The term “suppression of civil rights for sexual minorities” is unclear. I am guessing that you mean opposition to same-sex marriage, but I’m not certain.

And as for “it does not matter what is in the senders head, what matters is the effect on the person receiving the prejudice”, no I do not believe that at all.

Rob Tisinai
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Houndentenor, I’ve addressed this a couple times. You are free to disagree with what I said, but it’s simply untrue to say “Silence so far,” and “crickets.”

john
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

This is the logical terminus of the mindset of many here:

http://reason.com/blog/2014/04/08/portland-organic-store-and-gay-marriage

Ben In Oakland
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, you are quite correct. I perhaps wasn’t as clear as I could have been. I should have said that I have found very few people– not NEVER– who are willing to leave it at “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”

So, for that I apologize. It was early, and I’ve been somewhat stressed lately.

Jerry Sanders is indeed a good example. He was a person who said, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.” The corollary to that is “No, marriage is not for the likes of you.” His reasons for doing so were– absent his input into this discussion– a mix of bigotry and unthinkingness.

But he examined his belief, as so many have, and realized that if it wasn’t bigotry, it was not much different from bigotry. And so he changed his mind. I have no problem with that.

Neil
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Pat, you said,

Telling untrue stories now about how it was an internal protest primarily belies both the record and the triumphalism in many of the comments.

You should have read my posts a bit more carefully. I’d already stated that the internal opposition was a minor part of the pressure on Eich. You seem to understand that Mozilla is a collective enterprise but then don’t credit why that might make the board more sensitive to community feeling among its many contributors.

Whichever was the proximate cause, that individual protest or the Credo action and its knock on effects, what pushed Eich’s demise as CEO was much more media amplified external causes destroying Mozilla’s downloads and his reputation.

A reality any CEO has to face. Eich did a very poor job of it. In the process of making his case he reiterated his opposition to LGBT equality. Imagine if he’d said he supports racial equality within the company but opposes it otherwise. We wouldn’t be having this discussion. The reason we are having it demonstrates that LGBT rights aren’t yet at the level of racial civil rights. But for the socially aspirational community of freeware developers and the netizen community it appears that LGBT rights have come into full recognition.

I see your accusation of weasel words and raise you the charge that your use of the words ‘totalitarianism’ and Orwellian’ are nothing short of hysterical rhetoric.

Pat
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

The board were caught completely flat footed by the whole issue resurfacing, once _they_ made Eich CEO. Chairwoman Mitchell Baker’s posts and statements after the protest and boycotts began were completely lame and unleaderly, as bad in their own way as Eich’s C-net interview despite pro-equality posturing. My use of totalitarian and Orwellian are quite accurate. And even if Eich had imitated Obama and “evolved” and, as some totalitarians were demanding, donated 10x his Prop 8 donation to an LGBTQI charity, I contend he’d still be gone now, because some on the right were already boycotting and pillorying him for his initial reassertion of all Mozilla’s diversity and non-hostile and pro LGBTQI policies (they support transgender healthcare benefits explicitly). I believe had he then done an about face from what everyone already concluded about his Prop 8 donation, the right would have pounced, and I believe many of his detractors would not have been mollified. And what credibility would he have as CEO for those less hardened on each side of the issue to pivot in the face of mass protest, damage to Mozilla, and the risk to his new role? Resigning and withdrawing from public view and discourse was, once the press cycle peaked, the only viable option to try to protect Mozilla.

Timothy Kincaid
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Ben,

Perhaps we disagree as a matter of extent. I think that Sanders is a lot more common than that. Perhaps I’m too naïve or you’re too suspicious or it’s somewhere between the two.

In any case, polls show that millions of Californians have been scratched and discovered that beneath their silver paint was a heart of solid gold.

Richard Rush
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy said, “And as for ‘it does not matter what is in the senders head, what matters is the effect on the person receiving the prejudice’, no I do not believe that at all.”

I agree with StraightGrandmother.

Let’s say we have two anti-gay people. One says “God hates fags, and so do I,” and the other says “God loves the homosexual, and so do I.” But if the results that both of them seek to produce for our lives are the same, how does it matter what games they play in their heads?

We have all seen anti-gay de facto Rushdoony Christians distance themselves from the Phelps clan, but I could never imagine that the results they seek for our lives would any different at all.

Neil
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Pat,

Eich engaged with the criticism’s raised by his appointment and did a poor job of responding. In fact, he restated his opposition to LGBT equality. He gave credence to his critics. He took away from Mozilla’s board the possibility that they could credibly claim to have a CEO who believed in their mission statement.

Yes, the press cycle is a dick. Yes, the public domain can be rough. Yes, Eich as CEO would be faced with continuing questions about how he balanced his opposition to LGBT equality with the inclusive values of Mozilla. It must have become clear by 10 days into his appointment that his position would be untenable.

Here’s the thing. Rob says:

I see a difference between saying, “I will not financially support an organization or business that uses this money to take away my rights,” and “I will not financially support an organization or business until it purges every employee who wants to take away my rights.”

But this doesn’t describe the situation. How Eich was communicating on where he stood on Mozilla policy was shaping up to affect how effective he could be as CEO. It’s true that people can be ratbags and make unreasonable demands. Nowhere have I heard a call that a company should fire every employee who’s anti-gay. The controversy didn’t arise until Eich was appointed CEO. His prop 8 donation has been public knowledge for about 3 years.

There has been a right wing backlash against Mozilla due to Eich’s resignation. Your definition of ‘totalitarian’ seems to be any public pressure that creates a definitive response. The right wing backlash is not totalitarian unless it achieves a reversal of the Eich resignation, at which point it becomes ‘totalitarian’.

Which brings me to what’s wrong about the petition:

Much of the rhetoric that emerged in the wake of the Eich incident showed a worrisome turn toward intolerance and puritanism among some supporters of gay equality

In the words of the British MP, David Lammy, in his splendid peroration in favour of marriage equality in the UK,

…it is the end of an organic journey from criminality to equality for the gay community that began over half a century ago.

Opposition to same-sex marriage is a desire to retain the legacy of that criminality. It is the desire to retain a vestige of intolerance. It is the expectation of the maintenance of a form of Puritanism within modern society. The questioning of Eich’s fit as CEO of Mozilla, a company with core values of tolerance, is far from being a worrisome trend towards intolerance. It is a very heartening sign of a certain impatience with the pace of our journey towards equality.

It is simply not the case that Eich was just an employee fired for a political viewpoint, or even for his donation to Prop 8. He wasn’t fired when the donation came to light. I find it baffling that the particular case of the CEO job description with reference to the nature of the Mozilla project is being so conveniently brushed aside.

Mitchell Baker has stated that she feels the Mozilla board has been held accountable to their own values. Mozilla appears willing to weather the right wing backlash because it’s arguing for Mozilla’s board to ignore their values.

Eich gave the appearance of representing intolerance. Opposing intolerance is its opposite, tolerance. Quoting the petition again:

The natural consequence of true liberty is diversity. Unless a society can figure out a way to reach perfect agreement, conflicting views will be inevitable. Any effort to impose conformity, through government or any other means, by punishing the misguided for believing incorrectly will impoverish society intellectually and oppress it politically.

Opposing intolerance necessarily creates conflict. Eich is free to keep his misguided beliefs. Those beliefs didn’t result in him losing his job as CTO. It is too simple to say he was punished over his CEO resignation. It might be more accurate to say that some people wanted to punish Mozilla for appearing to equivocate on how strongly they stood by their mission statement about serving an inclusive and diverse community. There was a strong feeling that Eich, as excellent a CTO as he was, wouldn’t represent what so many felt was something aspirational about this company. His appointment just seemed so utterly retrograde.

In some respects that does seem unfair. Eich co-founded the company and it’s a project I have no doubt he believes in. He would’ve been ideal if it wasn’t for his cognitive dissonance about LGBT people (equal in Mozilla/ unequal without) raising constant questions about that issue.

I can see that the petition authors and signatories want to make a stand in favour of liberal discourse. I just think that this is a very poorly chosen case on which to base it.

TampaZeke
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

Fox News had their Cliven Bundy and Box Turtle Bulletin now has their Donald Sterling.

The Universe certainly does work in mysterious ways!

TampaZeke
April 27th, 2014 | LINK

And with that, I’m DONE with Box Turtle Bulletin!

Buh-bye!

Pat
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Neil,

I don’t disagree with anything you say about Eich becoming ineffective as CEO. He gave that very reason for resigning, without blaming anyone. As for the petition basing its case on Eich, what I take to be their main point is that it won’t work, at this point in the fight for equality, for us to just tell the opposition, no matter who they are or what they say, to “shut up”.

You misconstrue my definition of totalitarian — I am clear in all my comments, I believe, that to tell anyone that they can hold whatever opinion they do, but don’t dare ever speak or act on it, is by definition totalitarian. I say quite clearly that it is totalitarian to, at this point in the fight for Marriage Equality, demand silence from anyone who has any qualms about it for any reason, and treat them the same as racists, a priori. I also said the pile-on to Eich as whipping boy proxy for all Prop 8 supporters, with hundreds if not thousands of tweets and comments on many GLBT blogs calling him foul names and insulting his looks (or the self-hating accusation of being gay faced as Kenneth Walsh did), with concomitant demands that he recant, with a number of comments saying they didn’t care what he really thought, only that he did recant, smacked of totalitarianism (and being forced to say something while believing something else is the definition of Orwellian).

Finally, I said above that I don’t see “big gay” by any definition behind the protests against Eich, and so don’t agree with that implication of the letter that Timothy, Jim, and Rob signed. What I do find worth answering is their worry about those who only want to “punish, rather than criticize or to persuade those who disagree” with more than analogies to racists being anti-miscegenation.

Thirty five years ago every gay theory or psychology book I read when in high school never mentioned marriage, except in some cases to deride it as a patriarchy perpetuating, woman enslaving bourgeois institution. Writer’s like John Rechy described how antithetical the gay life that awaited me was to marriage, and how it was truly fulfilling my destiny (until I was 40, and not young or hot enough, anyway), as a gay man to follow my bliss and have lots of sex with lots of men in whatever way I wanted to.

Twenty five years ago people like Evan Wolfson and Andrew Sullivan started showing up promoting the idea of marriage equality, and were similarly derided by the gay left of that era. Marriage equality has only taken on a mass of support in the last ten years and the tipping point in public opinion shifted only in the last couple of years. To see all the millennials, majority straight, support marriage equality even in red states is a sign of just how quickly attitudes are shifting. To be punitive and vindictive, and to keep flogging the now absent Eich for his crimes, is a misplacement of energy, as well as in some instances, just plain nasty. And to demand anyone speak a party line no matter what they truly think is totalitarian and Orwellian.

Neil
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Pat,

I would contend that you are over stretching the definition of totalitarian here:

I am clear in all my comments, I believe, that to tell anyone that they can hold whatever opinion they do, but don’t dare ever speak or act on it, is by definition totalitarian. I say quite clearly that it is totalitarian to, at this point in the fight for Marriage Equality, demand silence from anyone who has any qualms about it for any reason, and treat them the same as racists, a priori.

That’s not what’s happened. People responded in opposition in the full gamut of rhetorical styles. I agree that many comments directed at Eich have been over the top. But I reckon calling them collectively totalitarian is equally over the top.

Totalitarianism is by definition a form of authoritarianism. The opposition to Eich may well be described as ragged, coarse, precipitant and in some respects, even ill-informed, but it was an up-swell of feelings vented on the matter of where Mozilla was going with Eich. An unruly rabble it might have been, but that does not a totalitarianism make.

You’re even more off with the attribution Orwellian. That describes a totalitarianism so extreme that far from thinking one thing and saying another, the dissenting thought itself is very likely to arise.

A variety of tweets and blog comments don’t come remotely close to earning these adjectives.

Pat
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Neil, I think you must mean “unlikely” in your next-to-last sentence, otherwise I can’t parse it. Anyway, I cannot agree with your soft-peddling — there are a number of comments just in this thread alone, as well as on many other posts, that are exactly what I am describing as totalitarian and Orwellian, which say in effect that Eich could have kept his job if he’d just recanted and said and done X, no matter what he thought. As Straight Grandmother put it above:

‘The only acceptable position I accept is, “I Personally Oppose but Publicly Support Equal Civil Marriages for Sexual Minorities.” ‘

from Eich and those like him. That is quite clearly totalist in its demand (“the only acceptable position”), and would make Thoughtcrime axiomatic for those who disagree with marriage equality — see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoughtcrime for Orwell’s definition, and why I call this Orwellian. As I say elsewhere, I reject this and want no part of it.

Ben M
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Pat – how is punishing a person who makes racist statements any less totalitarian? How is it less Orwellian that people that hold racist beliefs to hide them to be involved in mainstream social life?

Re: your use of the phrase “at this point” implies that punishing racists is ok, and that at some point, punishing people who oppose marriage equality will also be acceptable, but I don’t see how your usage of totalitarianism allows for that.

Pat
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Yep, I don equate racism with opposition to marriage equality. An my “yet” is an acknowledgement that more and more do.

The reason I gave my personal history of none of us even having a mental model for marriage for gay people 40 or more years ago is to remind everyone that this is a rapid change toward equality. The letter at issue in this thread, for whatever other faults it has listed above, essentially asks for patience and not condemnation and suppression of those who disagree.

I happen to believe there will always be a significant number of people _in the world_ who disagree on marriage equality, and so want all in favor to be always able make the case ever better, and not resort to “you can think whatever but you have to say THIS”.

Ben M
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Racism was a poor choice to use on my part. Now that I’m back on a PC, I can be more nuanced I hope.

My fundamental question was more to the limits of your definition of totalitarianism. I understand the definition you gave to be absolute (it is never ok), but you use some words that make me feel you really have a more nuanced view than that. That there a tipping point that some ideas reach (racism perhaps) where it is no longer totalitarianism to take a very active stance opposed to it. I’m just wondering if that is the case and if various forms of expressing anti-gay views (including opposition to marriage equality) could reach that point in the future?

I agree that some of the points made in the letter are very important. I think the use of a very simplified version of the Eich narrative as a rallying point is ill-conceived and has caused a gut reaction that has hurt it far more than helped it.

I think it is very hard to begin the process of reconciliation when we are still in the middle of the larger marriage equality movement, but it is something that needs to be discussed. I understand the points both sides are making, but I remain conflicted on this issue as whole.

homer
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Interesting to watch people I once admired squirming because they are such hypocrites.

Hey Timothy Kincaid et al. Still going to demand that NOM release its donor lists so those donors will be scared about the public exposure.

Why don’t you tell us exactly why you, in post after post, demanded that NOM release those donor lists?

Still waiting for an answer on that question.

Timothy Kincaid
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Homer, I don’t recall demanding – in post after post – that NOM release donor lists. But, if I did so, I don’t see any hypocrisy in both demanding that NOM adhere to campaign law and also that we not attack every donor. And, incidentally, one cannot be “still waiting” for an answer to a question one has just proposed.

DN
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Sure, you don’t do sports stories. Just put “football” into your own search engine, and you’ll turn up a number of sports stories. Here are four from you, Timothy, in the past year:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2014/01/03/61538

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2013/11/18/60549

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2013/09/07/58878

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2014/01/03/61542

If your response is that those aren’t sports stories, but they’re stories about something larger that involves athletes, I agree. So is the LA Clippers story.

So how about you be honest with your audience about this blog not covering sports?

DN
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Can’t help but notice that your comment was edited. Previously, you’d also responded to Lauderdale and someone else. Interesting – wonder how that happened.

DN
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

A note to those who didn’t happen to read Kincaid’s comment before he edited it, he said quite clearly that he will not be covering the Sterling story because BTB doesn’t cover sports.

DN
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

ah wait, I think I see – I think Timothy was writing all three at once but felt the other two paragraphs belonged in the other thread (http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2014/04/28/64226#comment-368032)

Timothy Kincaid
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

FYI, I realize that I’d answered something on the wrong thread so I moved it. The part DN was most interested is now here.

And, as a quick glance at DN’s examples will show you, I do discuss stories in which sports figures are part of the story if they are primarily about gay rights or the community or somehow related to our usual subject matter. So I won’t be discussing the Clippers or Sterling. I had literally never heard of him before this week and though I’m an Angelino, I had to look it up to confirm that the Clippers were a basketball team.

Priya Lynn
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy said “For one thing, prejudice is not nor has it ever been equivalent to racism. It’s not even close.

Racism is an active and conscious way of structuring ones thinking and positions and behaviors. Prejudice is usually not conscience and often not ill intentioned. Prejudice is, literally, pre-judging, an inclination towards thinking ill towards someone based on old, often unexplored, assumptions. Those may be bigoted positions or they may merely be prejudice. And if they come from prejudice, they are no where near what you mean when you speak of racism.”.

That’s one of the biggest crocks of shite I’ve ever read on this blog, also known as the special pleading logical fallacy. Racists are just as prejudiced as any anti-gay bigot. You can be just as inclined to thinking ill towards blacks based on old, often unexplored, assumptions as you can towards gays. There is no difference between a bigoted position and a prejudiced one. Any mental machinations that lead a person to be anti-gay can just as easily lead a person to be a racist. The two bigotries are fundamentally the same, only the targets differ.

You are stuggling to justify your own hypocrisy – you can’t do it. Racism is most certainly the equivalent of prejudice towards gays. The double standard you cling to sickens me.

DN
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

If you think the Clippers / Sterling story is about sports, you are beyond help.

Priya Lynn
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, do you believe some people that oppose equal rights for blacks are not bigots?

Cause I don’t know how you can say some people who oppose marriage equality aren’t bigots and not say some people who oppose equality for blacks aren’t bigots.

Priya Lynn
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

DN said “If you think the Clippers / Sterling story is about sports, you are beyond help.”.

Timothy just says that to give himself an excuse not to deal with the contradictions in his position.

vergil arma
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

the btb boys are indeed beyond help. their double standard and pretzel twisting are disgusting.

Scott Rose
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

I am writing this comment on Yom Ha’Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Brendan Eich was not pressured to step down as Mozilla CEO exclusively because of his Proposition 8 donation.

The Mozilla community — by which I mean, those within the company, and those that use its products and services — became more broadly aware of Eich’s apparent extremist views and political commitments, and could not live with them.

Among Eich’s commitments were an apparent belief in white supremacy and specific political donation to a very long-shot candidate, Pat Buchanan who is an inveterate Jew hater and a Holocaust denier.

The Guardian gave Eich a chance to explain his support of the Holocaust denier and Jew hater Pat Buchanan, but all Eich would say was “No comment.”

Notably, NOM has fanned the flames of antisemitism among voters when it perceived that doing so would further its anti-gay “cause.”

The writers of this blog are giving comfort to somebody who gives political support to a Jew-hating Holocaust denier.

Priya Lynn
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

“The writers of this blog are giving comfort to somebody who gives political support to a Jew-hating Holocaust denier.”.

And they’ll absurdly deny that thats the same thing as giving political support to anti-gay causes.

Ben In Oakland
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

I’m leaving today for a two week trip to visit my husband’s family, but I took the time to send this to the san Francisco Chronicle.

Brendan Eich made a $1000, money-is-speech, publicly identified contribution to the Prop. 8 campaign, which spent $40 million calling my life and marriage a threat to heterosexual marriage, morality, family, children, faith, liberty, and Western civilization. Activism initiated entirely within Mozilla’s community, and Eich’s incompetence in handling the situation, led to his resignation. Religious and political conservatives, including Deborah Saunders, denounced this as brutal homofascism, an (otherwise imaginary) assault by the Gaystapo on First Amendment freedoms.

Donald Sterling made blatantly racist remarks in PRIVATE, and there are public denunciations and calls for sanctions from the NBA, including from conservatives on CNN. Apparently, this isn’t the brutal Afrofascism of the Race-stapo, but principled, moral outrage.

Maybe I’m obtuse, but what’s the difference?

Oh, I get it. Sterling is a racist, which is capital-B Bad. Eich, however, is merely homophobic. That isn’t really bad, just a matter of individual freedom, albeit one leading to documentable harm to our lives and families, including youth suicide and destroyed careers. Or maybe it’s merely because Sterling is about something important like basketball, but Eich was leading a big, gay-supportive corporation.

What’s sauce for the gay goose ought to be sauce for conservative propaganda.

homer
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, why don’t you go back to the comments on here for April 23- you will see I asked back then. I even note that the previous time I asked this question, it was apparently deleted.

Examples of you being excited about NOM release donor lists include:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2012/02/27/42448

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2011/07/05/34826

Your implying that I am a liar is the last straw. I’ve linked to BTB for years and was a daily reader. But suggesting I am a liar- done with this website.

cowboy
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Off topic
For StraightGrandmother: Get Well Soon.
(Hip replacement for my Mother went without a hitch and recovery was remarkably short with these new techniques the doctors are using.)

Timothy Kincaid
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Homer,

Oh I guess I did wax eloquent about NOM releasing donor names a few years ago. But I still don’t see the hypocrisy.

And I’m unaware of suggesting that you are a liar. If I did so, I’m sorry about that.

StraightGrandmother
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy:

also that we not attack every donor.

Rob:

Michael, I wasn’t really involved in the El Coyote boycott, never wrote about it, and didn’t frequent the restaurant anyway. More generally, though, I see a difference between saying, “I will not financially support an organization or business that uses this money to take away my rights,” and “I will not financially support an organization or business until it purges every employee who wants to take away my rights.”

Gross exaggeration and misstating the facts. Most of us believe that the position of CEO is different. They are the final abrogator of company policy and CONFLICT. Nobody ever said every single person who donated money needs to be “purged.” Bigot Joe in accounting has superiors, the CEO can pick his staff. That staff can protect and cover for the CEO, who is Top Dog.

Rob:

This letter calls for more speech, not less. Nor does it call for an end to boycotts, protests, and petitions. Rather, it opposes targeting an individual’s livelihood for factors independent of job performance. This is fundamentally different, for example, from correctly firing a teacher who abuses his paid position by targeting students with racist, sexist, or homophobic denigration.

Then Rob you will be standing up for Justine Sacco, right? You are calling for her re-instatement for racist remarks she made on Twitter while on Vacation.

Rob:

Finally, I do think that Prop 8 was a form of discrimination, but Eich did not impose it (or a corporate version of it) in his role as CEO.

Same scenario as the clippers guy and Jutine Sacco. Only we know for SURE Eich acted on his predjudice.

Rob:

But as I noted in my first comment on this thread, many people called for Eich’s resignation on the basis of the donation alone, apart from his handling of the situation or the loss of employee support, and that’s what this letter addresses.

They are entitled to their opinion. So what if they did, they are entitled to call for his resignation if that was their litmus test.

I waited for his current views which he refused to disclose, instead reminding us all how Same Sex Marriage has not yet been declared a Human Right and rejected by his customers in Indonesia.

Rob:

Some obviously do believe that gays are inferior people, but not all of them. In fact, much of the movement we’ve seen since 2008 comes from people recognizing that their acceptance of gay people as full human beings does contradict their opposition to same sex marriage. If these folks were all inveterate bigots, we wouldn’t see such rapid change.

No. What they are is reformed Bigots. You are saying they were never Bigots in the first place, and I am saying, “Yes they were”

Rob:

Had Eich declared that he would not consider LGBT concerns in his position of leadership it would have been appropriate to ask him to leave. However, the assumption that he is a bigot because of a decision he made in 2008 seems almost religious in its conviction.

We didn’t have to “assume Rob- he told us that Gay Marriage is not yet a Human Right.Once the flag was raised the onus was on Eich to be candid and he patently refused. The onus was not on us to give him the benefit of the doubt,, the onus was on him to answer our questions. And.he.would.not. saying that is his private life.

Randy Potts:

For me personally, when I signed this piece I was thinking about the future more than the present – the details of Eich’s resignation are somewhat unclear but it *is* clear that it’s dangerous to set a precedent wherein anyone who has voted “incorrectly” on a given issue cannot be in a position of leadership.

It is not merely voting, he contributed to an organization whose purpose was to suppress Civil Rights for sexual minorities. You are trying to frame it as political speech. It is correctly described a a Civil Right issue. Votes are secret, we do not know how people voted, we do know however who contributes to organizations whose purpose is to strip sexual minorities of Equal Civil Rights.

Can someone point me to the petition with 70,000 signatures demanding Eich’s resignation? Typically these are done on Change.org. However in searching Change.org I find one petition demanding his resignation and it has 70 signatures on it. I would like to read the petition for myself, can anyone point me to it?

https://www.change.org/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=Mozilla+Eich

I am mad at the BTB guys but I still do NOT consider them my enemy.

Timothy Kincaid
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Straight Grandmother,

You say something interesting here:

I am mad at the BTB guys

Why?

Pat
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

It was Credo Action SG, and they have disabled the page for some reason: http://act.credoaction.com/sign/mozilla_ceo?sp_ref=36577725.4.7300.t.0.2&referring_akid=10306.6018899.C9QoIL&source=tw_sp

Priya Lynn
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy said “Straight Grandmother,

You say something interesting here:

I am mad at the BTB guys

Why?”

I can’t believe you had to ask that.

Priya Lynn
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

I can’t believe you could go through even a fraction of her comments and not be firmly clear on that.

Kevin P
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Wow, I am amazed this thread is still going strong. It has really touched a nerve with alot of people. I hope the BTB guys expected this level of debate and conversation over this issue whent hey posted this letter. I do very much appreciate their involvement in the conversation and engaging with the commenters, even though most people seem to disagree with the letter.

After thinking it over, I can get on board with the general gist, which is we shouldn’t punish Joe and Jane Prop 8 Voter or people who are slowly coming around to support SSM. Also, there are truly a lot of religious people who are against SSM but struggle to defend that view to themselves and others. Screaming at them that they are homophobes is probably not the most effective method (though some days its hard to supress that anger and pain in order to not lash out at them).

However, there are still some issues I have with the letter. I wish it wasn’t tied to Branadon Eich (a sentiment it seems Rob, Tim, and Randy seem to share in some manner). The Eich situation is much more complex then “Support Prop 8 – Must be fired”. His position as CEO, the type of company Mozilla is, his reaction to the situation, and employee morale all played a part. I think by tying the letter to Eich, a freshly opened wound was torn open even further as many felt they were being attacked for voicing disapproval about Eich’s role as CEO.

I wonder too if the letter would have been more effective if more liberals and progressives had signed. I do not know if they were approached and said no or if they were never even approached but the fact that most of the signers are conservative and libertarians probably caused many people to read a more partisan bent in the letter than maybe is there (I do not mind at all that most of the signers are conservative but I do have issues with some of the people who signed; David Blankenhorn and Ken Mehlman really have no right to tell me what to do or think or feel. The harm they caused our community has not yet been undone).

I do not think this issue will be going away anytime soon. I just hope we can all keep our discussions civil and remember that we all have the same goal at the end of the day – we just have different views on how to get there.

Michael Bussee
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

I have been thinking a lot about these discussions over the past few days. About “extending mercy” to those who have mistreated us. About how we should maybe play nicer once we get the upper hand and once we appear to be winning the battle. Some think we should be “magnanimous” — to let bygones be bygones and almost congratulate our opponent for putting up a good fight.

It’s a nice thought. But it misses something.

I think the reality is that there is a very NORMAL human impulse to deliver one final kick to the groin once our opponent is on his knees. To “get even”. To make them feel a portion of the pain they have caused us. The anger is still fresh. The battle has been hard. The adrenaline is still pumping and there is an understandable urge to give him a final blow — just for “good measure”.

It may not be a particularly “noble” impulse, but it’s a human one. We don’t just want to win, we want justice. We want some sort of restitution. We want those who have abused us to experience some sort of penalty for their abuse. We want them to suffer some. “Should” we feel this way? Is that even a fair question? The fact is, we DO. It’s real. It’s a legitimate feeling.

It is particularly legitimate for those who have been on the front lines of the battle for decades when being gay was a “sin”, a “sickness” and a crime — those have personally experienced the overt bigotry, the bullying, having their friends beaten or killed, dealing with suicides of those who have up, being fired for being gay, denied hospital visitation because you weren’t legally the next of kin, watching countless lovers and friends die of AIDS while the church and the government couldn’t say the word “AIDS”. We lived through it. Many of them did not.

Perhaps those who are newer to the culture “war” and who claim some sort of moral high ground because they (unlike those angry gays)have been able to “forgive” should just STOP for a moment. Let go of their feelings of self-righteousness. Quit condescending. Get down of the high horse and tend to the wounded warriors for a change.

Admit that the “get even” urge is perfectly normal — particularly for “veterans” Don’t lecture us. Don’t sign petitions with those who fought against us about how we should have better manners. Acknowledge that the impulse to get even make sense. It’s real. Let us “own” it. Help us explore it instead of shaming us. Perhaps then, we might actually get somewhere.

Rob Tisinai
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Michael, I was born in 1962 and I grew up in western Pennsylvania, the exact spot Obama was talking about when he said, “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” I spent my childhood hearing that being gay was a “sin”, a “sickness” and a crime. I lived through the overt bigotry you describe.

vergil arma
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

michael bussee we haven’t won yet. that’s why these btb quislings’ appeasement rhetoric has angered so many.

following a bigoted religious tradition doesn’t absolve the followers from the charge of bigotry. the bible made me be a bigot doesn’t cut it. calling them the bigots they are can lead to their reevaluating their position. it’s a form of tough love. for some it may make them dig in their heels, but for others it will make them reassess.

there’s no doubt that the emotional shaming implicit in the no hate campaign, when coupled with more rational, thoughtful explanations of why opposing gay rights in general and ssm in particular are wrong, has been very effective.

the homocons and homolibertarians are trying to undermine and sabotage the two-pronged strategy before the victory has been won.

that’s why their wrong-headedness has met with such resistance. and rightly so.

wait till we have real victory. then we can be magnanimous.

Jim Burroway
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Michael, I was born in 1961 in Appalachia, where I grew up. I’ve spent the rest of my life in Texas and Arizona, for chrissakes. I don’t need any lectures from you (or anyone else for that matter) about how maybe if I had experienced over bigotry, accusations of “sin” and “sickness”, personal threats to my livelihood and well-being, or spent many years having tried futily to “change” (all of which describe my life experiences) that I’d somehow see the light and understand the wisdom that somehow getting even “makes sense.” Good God, Michael, is that your model for a better society?

Michael Bussee
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

“I lived through the overt bigotry you describe.”

Then perhaps, Rob, those of you at BTB could be a little more “magnanimous” towards those who have raised legitimate concerns, objections and questions about this letter.

The tone of many of the responses (particularly from one of your colleagues) have tended to be snarky, dismissive, defensive and evasive.

Did any of you consider asking the question (“How can we own and channel our legitimate anger?”) instead of a petition that came across as a sanctimonious scolding about how people ought to forgive those who have harmed us? That went over like a pregnant pole-vaulter.

Do most of your readers think that a person should be fired simply for expressing an anti-equality view? I highly doubt it. Perhaps some do. But you didn’t ask.

Michael Bussee
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

I wasn’t referring to you Jim. You have been very gracious in your responses. Thank you. I didn’t say that revenge was OK, I only said that the impulse was for some sort of restitution or revenge was understandable. I haven’t seen much acknowledgment of that in these discussion.

By the way, I asked my group of “ex-gay” survivors the simple question: “Do you think a person should be fired for opposing marriage equality?” — and not ONE of them said “yes”. In fact, they all agreed they wouldn’t want that done to them. So even though they might have legitimate anger, their reason and sense of fair play prevails.

Michael Bussee
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

“…that I’d somehow see the light and understand the wisdom that somehow getting even “makes sense.” Good God, Michael, is that your model for a better society?”

No it isn’t. And that’s not what I said. I said it the feeling of wanting revenge “made sense” — that it was “understandable” — not that I endorsed it as a tactic.

And I wasn’t lecturing you about not having the insight of experiencing the dark years of “sin, sickness and crime”. We are the same generation I think.

I was referring to lectures I have received from gay people in their 20’s and 30’s who didn’t experience that and think that gay anger is unjustified. It galls me when I get the lecture about “forgiveness” from them. It would be like me giving a similar lecture to a WW2 veteran.

Jim Burroway
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Thank you for your clarification. You had me worried.

I can understand what you’re getting at on an individual level. When people experience personal trauma, they shouldn’t be expected to just buck up, snap out of it, and be “noble” just because its an expectation. It’s a process to get there. I know.

But I also think that when it comes to articulating principles of what I beleive would make a better functioning and more inclusive society for everyone — and that has always been my number one concern no matter who “everyone” is — well, I belive its better to articulate a vision of how things should be, not how things are now.

Jim Burroway
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Thank you for your clarification. You had me worried.

I can understand what you’re getting at on an individual level. When people experience personal trauma, they shouldn’t be expected to just buck up, snap out of it, and be “noble” just because its an expectation. It’s a process to get there. I know.

But I also think that when it comes to articulating principles of what would make a healthier, better-functioning and more inclusive society for everyone — and that has always been my number one concern no matter who “everyone” is — I believe its better to articulate a vision of how things ought to be, not how things are now.

Michael Bussee
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Jim: I have never suggested that there is “wisdom” in “getting even” — only that it’s a normal feeling for people who have been injured. I said that the FEELING was understandable, human and legitimate and that people shouldn’t be shamed that there is something wrong with feeling it. There’s a huge difference between acknowledging the legitimacy of having a feeling of wanting revenge and acting on it. Surely you can see that?

Timothy Kincaid
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

I was born in 1963 and raised in a small rural conservative town a few hours drive north of Sacramento. I recall my father, a Pentecostal pastor, telling that another pastor’s son was a homosexual out of rebellion and because he wanted to hurt his father. I certainly have had my share of “sin, sickness, and crime”.

Robert
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

What Vergil Arma said above. We have not won this cultural war, and we may not win any time soon. Our right to marry in most states in this country is really in the hands of the deeply divided Supreme Court. Should anything happen to Justice Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, or Sotomayor and a Repbulican is elected President in 2016, you can kiss any hope of a national right to marry goodbye.

When the battle for equal rights under the law has been won, then one can talk about amnesty and forgiveness. Until then, we are a very vulnerable minority. Shaming and exposing our enemies is a valuable tactic. Indeed, if I remember correctly, that was supposed to be the mission of Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

“Shaming and exposing our enemies is a valuable tactic. Indeed, if I remember correctly, that was supposed to be the mission of Box Turtle Bulletin.”

No, I don’t believe that we set out to do shaming.

We do expose falsehood and ridiculousness of those who have set themselves up as our enemies, but I can’t think of a tactic less effective than shaming.

Scott McDaniel
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Acknowledging the individual’s trauma was missing in the original open letter. I appreciate Michael’s point. Living through the years of watching my friends and I lose everything were real events that scared my psyche. I experienced the horror of gay men dying and my fellow nurses refusing to even bring them their meal tray. I spent hours, days, week’s month’s years watching men dying and hearing messages that “they deserved it!” That was the 80’s and the 90’s. Fast forward to now, I am happily married. I take offense that my experience of horror is on par with a homophobic who resigned his job.

Neil
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Pat,

Neil, I think you must mean “unlikely” in your next-to-last sentence, otherwise I can’t parse it.

Quite right. My typo.

Put more simply, you have entirely inverted the meaning of the word totalitarian. It’s a top down thing, but you appear to be using the word as a synonym for ugly to describe a grass roots movement for which you hold an intense dislike.

Orwellian would be the use of some euphemism to disguise an oppressive meaning. So, if Eich said he supported an equality of views on marriage equality rather than that he supported discrimination, you might say that expression had an Orwellian flavour.

People wanted to hear Eich say he had changed his mind. Some of those sentiments sounded clumsily expressed, so I suppose they came across as – he should just say the right thing whatever he thought, perhaps in line with the idea that this would sure up confidence in his commitment to Mozilla’s values. It seems to me a long bow to draw to make meaningful use of the word Orwellian.

It makes no sense to describe a mere opinion as totalitarian or Orwellian. If it’s a message from an organ of government or a large scale corporate entity with a command over communications media, then you might have a case. The words are dependant on application by authoritarian impost from an elite power structure. The tweets and comments you dislike may be better described for your purposes as a vigilante mob, Jim Burroway’s characterisation of pitchfork wielding villagers.

The over the top use of these authoritarian descriptors rankles with me because of the way any attempt to advance gay rights gets characterised by the opposition as fascism or bullying, a simple negative spin that harks back to McCarthyist tactics, labelling dissenting opinions as some sort of organised ideological threat. That’s what words like totalitarian and Orwellian sound like to me in the current Eich resignation context, though I do, of course, accept that you’re not intending to come across that way.

Pat
April 28th, 2014 | LINK

Oh BS Neil. Individual opinions and views can be totalitarian and Orwellian. Saying “you can think whatever you want about marriage equality but you can only publicly endorse it” is totalitarian and Orwellian. I do intent to come across saying that those who called Eich “Nazi”, “C*nt”, “Gay faced”, and worse, and then asked him to recant whether he believed in it or not, without irony, are totalitarian and Orwellian. There you have it. Let’s just agree to disagree. The babyish rush to hide behind our oppression and mistreatment in order to demand all adhere to one orthodoxy will not win, sorry. We had best gird our loins for more fights, and not assume victory and then dismiss the opposition. This will continue.

vergil arma
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

“i can’t think of a tactic less effective than shaming.”

lol. lol. lol.

that’s because you obviously can’t think.

the nohate campaign, which is based on casting opponents to ssm as hateful bigots and hence worthy of shame, has been enormously effective.

you btb boys become more pitiful with every post and every comment.

you all apparently have serious psychological issues with internalized homophobia.

you guys are a freak show.

DN
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Straight Grandmother,

You say something interesting here:

I am mad at the BTB guys

Why?

Maybe because you called her a totalitarian?

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2014/04/04/63741#comment-355353

Oh wait, no – I guess you totally didn’t call her that because you totally covered yourself by saying “or perhaps not.”

Richard Rush
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy,

“I can’t think of a tactic less effective than shaming.”

I think one of the most effective tactics is shaming.

Shaming, along with other tactics such as threats, has been very effective for centuries against gays. How many ex-gay outfits would exist if gays had not been made to feel ashamed? And, shame is certainly one of the primary reasons that many gay people are still “in the closet.”

The fight to eliminate the shame that gay people have been made to feel has been difficult precisely because it IS so effective.

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Right Richard. If shaming wasn’t effective anti-gay christians wouldn’t be squealing like stuck pigs about how they’re being “silenced” whenever it happens.

Timothy Kincaid
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Richard,

I think that what you are discussing is something different, a culture-wide presumption of shame. In that context, one merely needs to point out that the shameful item, conduct, whatever, which in and of itself triggers the feelings of shame and embarrassment. The community’s shared values about what is acceptable v. unacceptable establish and reinforce parameters.

But, as we have seen, that only works for so long as the shameful act is seen as shameful. Once gay people challenged the idea that existing as a gay person was inherently shameful, the shame lost its hold. The ex-gay groups are, for all practical purposes, gone.

But shame is not what we are talking about here. “Shaming”, as I understand it, is not so much about upholding shared values. Rather, it’s an effort to impose on the target the values of the person doing the shaming. It’s the adult version of finger-wagging and name-calling.

And I don’t think it works effectively at all. Unless the person you are “shaming” agrees with you that they are behaving shamefully, you merely come across as a meddlesome harpy. Shaming is the tool and technique of folks like Illinois Family Association and One Million Moms. Sure they exist, but most people think they are a joke.

Now I suppose that there have been successful shaming efforts.

While I think that ACT-UP’s disruption efforts at churches hurt the community, they were successful in moving the FDA. And that makes sense. The little Catholic ladies did not share their values about what is shameful so throwing condoms at them was counter-productive. But the FDA could and DID feel shame at withholding drugs from sick people.

So I guess there could be successful efforts at shaming if they are very narrowly targeted and are based on shared values. But much of what I see described as “shaming” seems more akin to a child calling their mommy a poopy-head. Not terribly effective.

Ben
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

“Unless the person you are “shaming” agrees with you that they are behaving shamefully, you merely come across as a meddlesome harpy.”

Oh the irony.

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

More Americans share the value of gayness being moral than share the value of gayness being wrong. If the anti-gay bigots weren’t feeling shamed they wouldn’t be squealing like stuck pigs about being silenced every time they are criticized. They whine about being portrayed as bigots similar to racists. They wouldn’t say being criticized is “silencing” them if they didn’t feel their bigotry was being seen as unacceptable.

Shaming works, it is a necessary weapon in the arsenal. You go ahead and talk nicely to them, that may work with some people too and the two pronged “good cop/bad cop” approach may be the most successful of all.

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

I should have said “They wouldn’t say being criticized is “silencing” them if it weren’t at least partially successful.”.

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

And they certainly wouldn’t be complaining about being “silenced” if they had the same authority over gays that a mother does over her toddler.

Once again, the majority of Americans don’t believe gayness is wrong. Those people are the parent and the anti-gays are the child.

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

I think Timothy is still feeling the effects of being bashed by anti-gay religion as a youngster and erroneously still feels those people are in control.

Timothy Kincaid
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Priya Lynn, you shouldn’t listen to your imagination when it tells you what other people feel or think.

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Come now Timothy, everyone has ideas about what other people think, even you.

Timothy Kincaid
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Yes, that’s true. But when it comes to your imagination about me, you tend to get it wrong. Perhaps we are just too different for your experiences to tell you anything accurately about me. Maybe it’s best to not guess.

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

I think more likely than me being wrong is that you aren’t being honest with yourself.

Scott Rose
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Fined $2.5M and Banned for Life by NBA

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/nba-race-furor/clippers-owner-donald-sterling-fined-2-5m-banned-life-nba-n92671

BY HASANI GITTENS
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will be banned for life and fined $2.5 million for racist comments, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday.

“We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views,” Silver said. “They simply have no place in the NBA.”

The move comes after days of outrage at ugly words attributed to Sterling from a taped conversation with an ex-girlfriend.

Michael Bussee
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Another victim of intolerance and social shaming:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-sterling-banned-for-life-by-the-nba-for-deeply-disturbing-comments/

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Now its time for the Box Turtle Bulletin boys to do up a petition and sign it saying Mr. Sterling shouldn’t be punished for expressing his respectable views outside of his work.

Merv
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Once again, I think the only way you can reconcile saying that Sterling should be punished but Eich should not is by saying that we are in a transition period. We don’t want to trap good people on the wrong side of history, so for pragmatic reasons we will encourage a grace period for anti-gay speech or actions that we will eventually not hesitate to deem beyond the pale. Instead, an argument of principle has been made, which is entirely inappropriate for the situation.

Scott Rose
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Remember that Eich directly advocated in favor of pandering to anti-gay bigots in Malaysia.

It was NOT just his Prop 8 donation or his support of Jew haters.

It was that he said that his company had to consider how to appeal to anti-gay bigots in Malaysia.

Aaron Logan
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Hear, hear Scott Rose. Let’s also note that we’re being asked to give the benefit of the doubt to opponents of gay marriage: they’re not automatically bigots for opposing marriage. Let’s also note the lack of the benefit of the doubt given to the commentariat whose may have called for Eich’s firing: they’re automatically totalitarian and Orwellian.

Ben
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

All arguments aside, pretty anemic turnout. 235 out of 1,000 and the petition has had plenty of time to circulate the internet. With the number of followers on blogs, twitter, and facebook the various authors and signers have, this seems to be a stillbirth.

Makes me feel better this sentiment is shared by so few among advocates of GLBT rights.

Pat
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Aaron Logan, if you’re pointing to me, I did not say that all of those advocating Eich’s firing are totalitarian and Orwellian. I thought nobody was calling for his firing anyway, that Eich resigning was just an example of the free market working!

Aaron Logan
April 29th, 2014 | LINK

Pat: Okay. Clumsily stated on my part. I do wonder if the signers of the petition had given as much of the benefit of the doubt to those apparently calling for Eich’s resignation or firing as they did to Eich himself. I’ll trust that you gave those commenters you’ve talked about the benefit of the doubt.

Liz
April 30th, 2014 | LINK

Ben – Thank you for pointing that out. You are right…it looks like very, very few agree! It looked that way here in the comments but the low number of signatures confirms it! I’m very glad about that!

Michael Bussee
April 30th, 2014 | LINK

Some thoughts on homophobia, racism and free speech:

“Brendan Eich has free speech as well. But when he faced the consequences of that speech — brought on by the free market, not forced by any intervention — many applied a double standard, defending him. And that reveals how, no matter how many books are written by ambitious heterosexual reporters about how we gays have supposedly won, homophobia is alive and well — and openly tolerated — in America.” ~ Michelangelo Signorile

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/donald-sterling-brendan-eich-and-how-homophobia-gets-a-pass_b_5239389.html

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