58 Mostly Gay Conservatives Sign Statement Denouncing ‘Intolerance’ of Brendan Eich Critics

Fifty-eight mostly gay conservatives including Peter Thiel, Andrew Sullivan, and Ken Mehlman have signed a statement denouncing "some supporters of gay equality" for being intolerant of people who do not see gays as equal citizens.

EichThey point by example to Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, who took actions with his donation to Proposition 8 specifically intended to harm others, and then resigned when those actions were exposed and they did not fit the corporate culture of the company at which he was employed. The signatories seem to suggest that there was an organized campaign to get rid of Eich ("scalped by gay activists" as Sullivan put it) even though the mass disgruntlement seemed to come mostly from people on Twitter and social media reacting to the news, the two developers who brought up Eich's donation in the first place, and OkCupid, which took the boldest step of blocking Mozilla's browser Firefox.

Says the statement, in part:

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.

…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.

It continues:

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.

Finally:

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.

It's unclear where the fingers are pointing here because gay activists did not get Eich fired. As our Ari Ezra Waldman explained in a piece earlier this month, gay groups were not in this fight – Eich was brought down simply because he took actions that made him unfit to lead a unique community like Mozilla.

Read the full statement HERE.

Comments

  1. Alex Parrish says

    This is a tempest in a teapot. As it has been repeatedly pointed-out, none of the gay organizations were behind this and it was the computing community which took Eich to task. This was a business decision by a private organization which wished to uphold its own culture. Take the hint conservative mouthpieces — butt out!

  2. crashops says

    Whiny babies worship the free market but don’t like what the free market did to Eich. Gay activists had NOTHING to do with Eich leaving. It was grassroots consumer rejection via social media. Exactly the sort of free market pressure these cons supposedly love. So what’s the problem, whiners?

  3. Robert M. says

    I wonder if they (conservative gays) would be so ready to race to Eich’s defense if he had given money to the KKK or the Neo Nazi’s. Personally, giving money to the anti-gay Prop 8 crowd is the same but apparently “conservative” gays are suffering from collaboration syndrome…

  4. Abie says

    Ari Ezra Waldman’s argument was weak and unconvincing. Mozilla is a tech company, not the keeper of Freedom in the Western World, and his suggestion that someone’s outdated opinions of marriage somehow make it impossible to run a software company is laughable. For someone who presents himself as a legal expert, it was an absurd argument.
    So is the suggestion that gay activists had nothing to do with Eich’s removal. The internet, Mozilla’s native environment, was in an uproar over his private donations and his apparent conservative politics in general. To suggest the Gay activists were not at least partly responsible for the furor is just plain ridiculous.
    What is most regrettable about the whole situation, however, is the lack of appreciation that attitudes are changing on Gay marriage at a speed that few would have predicted. We are winning this fight, and once the issue is settled in our favor, as seems inevitable at this point, further punishing those who have disagreed with us serves no purpose other than creating anger and resentment.
    We don’t have to do that when we are the winner, and we are winning.
    And they know it.
    The Eich affair is the sort of thing that proves loathsome people like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham right when they say that Liberals are intolerant and want to impose their views on everyone. One thing we know for sure is that anything that proves them right has got to be wrong.

  5. wheelie81 says

    I love how gay activists like to get on their bullhorns to get rid of someone they disagree with and then when they get called out on it, they sit back and say “we didn’t do anything”.

  6. Ricky says

    If Sullivan and Mehlman had been at Stonewall they would have fought on the side of the police and gladly beaten any gay or lesbian who did not conform to their sensibilities – beaten them to a bloody painful death.

    I will not be lectured to by cowards who do not understand the first thing about dignity, honor, decency, or equality.

    Eich contributed to an effort to take away – again, take away, again, take away, again, take away, again, take away the right to same sex marriage in California – the time for talking was over – the courts had ruled – and Eich worked to take away the right to marry – not because he could have ever believed he could stop same sex marriage – but to punish gays and lesbians for prevailing in the American courts.

    I will not be lectured to by two half-men whose lack of self-esteem, dignity, and honor define not only their desires – but their lives – no, I will not.

  7. Michael says

    They hypocrisy, as usual, is ten fold.

    Where is their outcry at the BSA kicking out a church when not one person complained about the gay scoutmaster?

    Whah, whah, whah, we’ve lost this fight, yadda, yadda.

  8. anon says

    Can opposition to racial equality be expressed respectfully? If not, then how can opposition to marriage equality be expressed respectfully? It can’t, unless you feel racial bigotry is more harmful than LGBT bigotry.

  9. raul says

    MICHAEL! You are so right.

    If you substitute gays for ethnicity this conversation is absurd. The fact is that the culture is changing and people and corporations are increasing becoming intolerate of homophobia.

    And that’s a good thing.

  10. Jack Wang says

    What a bunch of self-hating fags.

    If Eich was a member of the KKK on his “personal time”, but “never showed any signs of treating black employees poorly” would they still be defending him?

    What if he was a known wife beater on his “personal time” but “never showed any signs of treating female employees poorly”?

    Again, what a bunch of self-hating fags. Please go back in the closet–you don’t deserve any of the victories we have won for you that allow you to live openly today.

  11. PDX Guy says

    He had several interviews to show that his beliefs had evolved, and he couldn’t do it. He was the CEO who is expected to guide the corporate culture, and he clashed with it and was called out on that. And we have yet to have any of these people point to any “gay activists” who organized the outrage at this choice of CEO. It was grassroots and that is what seems to bother these folks so much, there is no one person they can’t try to fight with.

  12. simon says

    A lot of hot air about nothing. Every one expresses his or her opinion. The final decision lies with the company. It was a business decision a certain TV network made to keep the Duck show on air. It was also a business decision Mozilla let go of an employee.

  13. JonnyNYNY2FLFL says

    The Supreme Court already determined that MONEY = FREE SPEECH, so if you are going to contribute cash to a political cause, don’t be surprised when people talk back.

  14. timothyjames says

    No one took away his free speech. But there are ramifications of hate speech. If anything they are trying to shout down any response isn’t that free speech as well.

  15. Todd says

    I’m so sorry Mr. Eich. I know you don’t like me, voted for me to not be equal and generally lead others in the “Hate the homo on Prop. 8″. I didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed to point out what a jerk you are. I am truly sorry you got a deserved taste of the hate you helped fund.

    NOT!

  16. bicurious says

    What Ricky said above is so important to note I am going to cut and paste from his post:

    Eich contributed to an effort to take away – again, take away, again, take away, again, take away, again, take away the right to same sex marriage in California – the time for talking was over – the courts had ruled – and Eich worked to take away the right to marry – not because he could have ever believed he could stop same sex marriage – but to punish gays and lesbians for prevailing in the American courts.

  17. northalabama says

    what do these misguided late comers expect to accomplish with their proclamation?

    should we refuse support from allies in the tech community that support marriage equality and denounce acts of discrimination?

    should we sympathize with those actively working to remove civil rights when they still clearly believe it’s for the best?

    now that we know what these “gay conservatives” are against, what exactly do they support, and why would i care?

  18. tooboots says

    @Crashops:

    You took the words right out of my mouth. Exactly, this is the system these people espouse and when it happens exactly the way it is supposed to, they want to have their cake and eat it too. Make up your effin minds! Whiny babies!

  19. pete n sfo says

    In what world is donating money to ensure the discrimination under law of another private citizen, not causing harm?!

    The company did the right thing b/c their clientele was walking away… it’s just that simple.

    More disturbing is that this letter will earn them notations on idiot programs like, This Week on ABC, where as we saw last week, they always welcome the Idiot Parade.

  20. Joe in Ct says

    I’m definitely not buying the this pity party for Mr. Eich. Proposition 8 was in fact a hateful reaction to advancing civil rights for gays and lesbian families who pose no legitimate threat to society. Extreme intolerance legitimately begets intolerance, especially when human rights are at stake. This is a truly fight for our lives, for our legitimacy as American citizens. So wring your hands conservative gays, and be disheartened apologists for bigotry upended. This one is over.

  21. UrbanMike says

    Sorry Andrew and Ken etc. Your not relevant any longer, for good reason. Let it go and enjoy what you have left and leave us alone. We will take it from here.

  22. John says

    Privilege whines about dings to privilege, snooze (though the BTB guys were sort of a shock). It’s regrettable that such a gifted writer as Sullivan is also a clueless defender of that privilege; the language in his marriage equality pamphlet is gorgeous. Sadly he’s more of a carpetbagger than Ariana Huffington.
    @Abie, your msg. seems to be that people should just STFU. Please free to be the change you wish to see in the world.

  23. anon says

    This is now a hoary topic, but it’s good to see some new faces around here. The problem for the TR crowd is that they are not the intended audience of this statement. This is going out the mainstream press for a mainstream audience. You can’t defend pornographers at the Vatican (at least in public), but you can in the court of public opinion.

  24. Hansel Currywurst says

    ANON – The mainstream doesn’t care. They’ve moved on to the Malaysian airplane…no wait, Ukraine… no wait, Colbert is replacing Letterman… no, wait, Real Housewives of… no…uh, what were we discussing?

    Oooooh, they signed a statement! Sexy! Because everyone knows privileged white guys who read stuff and think things are HOT. Or, more realistically, they just want to agree among themselves that they’re relevant and Better Than You.

  25. JMC says

    No one cares about what gay conservatives think. Gay people who don’t hate themselves don’t, and straight conservatives sure as hell don’t either.

  26. JJ says

    Translation:

    Dear CPAC,
    Please please please let us have a booth next year! Please don’t punish us for what those uppity activist gays are doing. We despise them, because we know our place.

    Sincerely,
    Your humble house fąggots

    P.S. See, Daddy? You can love me now. I hate that I’m a cọcksucker. I want to be just like you.

  27. Wavin' Dave says

    I’m trying to summon a “Jews For Hitler” metaphor, but it eludes me. Andrew Sullivan and his ilk bear watching. (He’d dig the ‘Bear” reference, but I mean it more like “gunning for Bear.”) Incredibly, we have become this…

  28. Buckie says

    You know, gay ultra conservatives are just as annoying as gay ultra liberals.

    They are all very tedious.

    Just spare the rest of us, and get a room, you losers.

  29. Kev C says

    I disagree with these conservatives on this. While it could have been handled better, the fact is that Brendan Eich was hurting brand Mozilla. Mozilla is not just one person, and Brendan’s politics don’t represent most of them. It was Mozilla employees that objected to Brendan, because they didn’t want him representing them. His 1 or 2 weeks as CEO did damage Mozilla’s market share and reputation. The CEO is not supposed to destroy the brand, but he almost did.

  30. ironic serendipity says

    Interesting that they seem more concerned about an adversary to gays rights losing his job than for the millions of gays, like the lesbian sheriff in South Carolina, who can lose their job just for who they are. Last I checked, ENDA hasn’t passed, and there is not same-sex marriage in all 50 states. There is still so much work to be done instead of coddling our haters.

  31. EchtKultig says

    As I’ve said before, Sullivan is the gift that keeps on giving. Just when it seems he can’t top his pusillanimous, right-wing appeasing self, he does. He is an absolute farce.

    I knew about Peter Thiel but am surprised he bothers with such tedious, piss-ant forms of activism; I thought he was too busy counting his money, and funneling it to politicians who will eliminate capital gains taxes and any social safety nets or environmental protections. Surely Eich was a nobody to him because he worked for a non-profit.

  32. Joe says

    The fact that Peter Thiel is involved in that speaks volumes. Mr Thiel would sell his grandmother if it meant a board seat or a few more million $. He’s a power, money hungry egomaniac.

  33. MaryM says

    Has Ken Mehlman undone the damage he has caused to millions of gay Americans?

    No.

    F*** you Mehlman.

    I hope gay people spit on you till the end of your days – you pathetic, evil little quisling.

  34. memike says

    like HANSEL said earlier (above), big deal.
    not one single newspaper is going to report on this nor is any tv news station. it will show up on a few blogs and then be forgotten after the next NPH or NOM story. did these guys actually sign a piece of paper, cuz if so then it was a waste of paper, therefore not very green.

    anyhow, i hope they give their “signed statement” to Brendan Eich so he can frame it and have something to show his grandkids.

  35. Bill Perdue says

    Such thinking is suicidal.

    The good news is that vast majorities in the LGBT communities and our grass roots organizations will reject it out of hand.

    The bad news is that the christer right and those in both parties who pander to them will be encouraged by it. And that is very bad news indeed.

  36. mdnc says

    We don’t “tolerate” Bigots or other haters do we? Why should we tolerate people who want to prevent equal rights for GLBT folks? I’m calling BS on these folks.

  37. wct says

    “Has Ken Mehlman undone the damage he has caused to millions of gay Americans?

    No.

    F*** you Mehlman.

    I hope gay people spit on you till the end of your days – you pathetic, evil little quisling.”

    Amen, MARYM!

  38. Miche Rutledge says

    Huh. Sullivan doesn’t see the bitter irony in a British person using a racially charged word like “scalped” when it was the British who began the practice to pay people for hunting down enemy Native Americans like animals.

  39. Bill says

    Oh yes, gays are big bullies and poor, straight homophobes should be mollified and yes, even encouraged to continuing speaking and acting on their god-given right to bigotry. What horsesh*t!

  40. Jon says

    I see all of the whiny b****es are out in force on Towleroad’s comment section, unable to appreciate or tolerate a thoughtful opposing view. What a bunch of emotional queens so many of you are, unable to be reasoned with. Take your meds, folks.

  41. MaryM says

    Jon – Ken Mehlman who actively contributed to the the suppression of civil rights for million of gay Americans is incapable of a thoughtful opposing view. His utter cowardice, hypocrisy, greed and stupidity renders him incapable of that.

    He deserves to be spat at, until the day he dies.

    He is truly a worthless piece of s***.

    His inclusion on that list renders the whole thing worthless.

  42. james st. james says

    I didn’t count them but there’s got to be more than “58 mostly gay” non-conservatives comments here. Good to see.

    And a few commenters who can’t tolerate that.

    Lap dog gays? Is that what the signers are? Yipping, never growling, and NEVER getting off that warm lap. Annoying, even to their owners who probably had them fixed.

  43. jamal49 says

    I’m sure that with this advertisement, the Log Cabinettes, the Go Proud Girls, and Andrew Sullivan are hoping they’ll gain some cred with their GOP abusers and be accepted back into the fold. Fat chance.

  44. Daniel says

    Whether what happened to this guy was wrong or right intolerance of intolerance isn’t a bad thing. But, also, this wasn’t gay people doing this–it was the marketplace. If CFOs can’t handle their customers balking at their socio-political stances they should avoid making them.

  45. Dan Cobb says

    Andrew Sullivan? He is a whore who took money from Rove and the Bush administration to become one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Iraq war in the entire USA, I believe. These “conservatives” are quoted as writing:

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

    I wonder if they would welcome the same “debate” about blacks (or women) having the right to vote? Or the right of a black person marrying a white person! What’s the debate, Andrew Sullivan? Whether gays should or should not have the right to marry? Why not stand up for the KKK and for having a calm and balanced debate with them on their race and religious issues?!

    Shunning bigotry and being intolerant of bigotry is a GOOD thing, Andrew. What kind of moron thinks we need a debate??

  46. Dan Cobb says

    What happened to Eich is EXACTLY what should happen to unrepentant bigots! Why on earth do we want to have a “decent respect for differing opinions”… when those “differing opinions” are odious and bigoted? Do we want to have robust debate and ‘respect’ for the opinions of the KKK? The Nazis? White Supremicists?

    Andrew Sullivan is an utter idiot. He was an idiot about Iraq (though I suspect he was paid money from the “W” administration to push the Iraq war) and seems to have the most asinine opinions on a variety of issues. How does someone so clueless become a TV “pundit”? Maybe being clueless is one of the criterion?

    The termination/resignation of Eich is 100% correct and appropriate. Being against civil rights for gays IS bigotry. This man is a bigot against gays. Period.
    The fact that he has shown no bigotry against gays in the workplace is of no consequence. What if he treated blacks equally on the job but was a member of the KKK -or some other organization that agitates to preclude blacks from voting? Should we engage him in “robust debate” and have a “decent respect for his differing opinions”?

    What is wrong with people like Sullivan? Are they incapable of thinking beyond the most superficial thoughts?

  47. simon says

    “can’t tolerate a thoughtful opposing view?”
    It is more like “can’t tolerate a stupid opposing view”. It is as thoughtful as calling something stupid as “thoughtful”.

  48. Jay says

    Charles Murray, who spreads racism with every word he writes; Ken Mehlman, who engineered the use of state “DOMAs” as wedge issues to elect George W. Bush; and David Blankenhorn, who was the star witness for Prop 8 and who authored an editorial implying that gay people were dangerous to children: these are the people who are lecturing us not to punish our enemies?

    It is exceedingly ironic for these clowns to be “concerned that recent events . . . 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.”

    These people were not eager to “criticize or persuade” gay people from getting married; they were eager to use the power of government to prevent gay people from getting married. Their interest was in punishing gay people, not in persuading us of anything.

    Their arrogance is exceeded only by their hypocrisy.

  49. says

    so “we gays” and the millions of non-LGBT non-bigots are “intolerant” for Not Tolerating An Active And Aggressive Push for Discriminatory and Intolerant Policy?

    There’s a difference between personal beliefs and actively working to TAKE AWAY a pre-existing right, and the active work to make other people’s lives WORSE.

    Nuance, please.

    I’d like to see 58 mostly-gay conservatives sign a statement denouncing the ongoing prejudicial and bigoted treatment of, and policies denigrating, LGBT people.

    please.

  50. Randy says

    Eich was not fired.

    Eich handled the situation incompetently.

    LGBT people had nothing to do with this.

    (By the way, I was in favor of Eich staying on as CEO, until it became clear he had no idea what he was doing)

  51. mmike1969 says

    Yeah, well you gop pigs (Str8 or gay) are part of the bigger problem of supporting bigotry in the first place.

    I have no problem with YOU being a bigot. Just don’t be all offended when I call you a bigot to your stupid face and refuse to use products you are responsible for.

    I still will not use firefox.

  52. Ed Lazzerini says

    Dear friends (if I may),

    I came to this site by accident, spurred on by an interest in reading the comments submitted. It is a practice that I have developed in order to better understand the fuller range of attitudes and arguments “out there” on leading issues. Dismayingly, the experience brought another stunning revelation of the mindset of too many liberal/left compatriots, one that allows the most extreme vitriol and hate-filled language to pass for intelligent remark based on something other than emotion or ideology. Shades of unrepentant homophobes, not to mention, dare I say, MSNBC and its cast of [fill-in-the-blank]-baters! How did “liberal” become a byword for intolerance? When did “liberal” talk begin to teeter in the direction not just of hate speech but of shameful ad hominem attacks and implicit if not explicit denunciations and threats that seek to silence others with whom one might disagree? The attitude that disagreement, ipso facto, means discrimination is profoundly illiberal and, worse, deadly: to public discourse, to fair play, and to the very humanity to which liberals are so primed to appeal.

    I have spent a lifetime studying dictatorships and various authoritarian societies and know well how the cowardly brutes in power ALWAYS seek to control the lexicon, intimidate and isolate opponents, and terrorize society as a whole. I also know that the cowardly brutes in power clone their kind by the tens of thousands if not millions to make the work of brutalizing the masses a piece of cake. The expansion of the same disgraceful and injurious behavior in our Republic, all beneath the mantle of a sublime and self-contented righteousness, fits with the other evidence of our society’s increasing descent into the hell we are creating by allowing the ends to justify the means. Are we about to witness our own Darkness at Noon?

  53. RexT says

    The California Ballot Proposition 8, when passed, took AWAY the rights of Citizens for the first time in the history of the United States. Those who supported, participated, actively engaged in the Passage of Proposition 8, certainly had the right to do so. Blow back, being what it is when Civil Rights are involved, was obviously more than Brendan Eich was able to handle. Were he CEO material, he would still be in this position, his departure is entirely HIS responsibility. Regardless of pressure from those who chose to speak up and out, for whatever reason.

    Sullivan and Mehlman, whatever.

  54. steve says

    so where is outrage form these pseudo gay “conservatives” when the GOP will not even let gay organizations have a booth at gay conference? where is their statement speaking out against that. oh wait the GOP is conservative and god forbid they speak out against their own… i am weary of these GINOS ( gay in name only)activists who defend people who are against us. you fight fire with fire..taking the higher ground is nonsense and not likely to change thing. bigots need to LEARN that there are consequences for hate.

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