Last week, Brendan Eich, CEO of Mozilla for a mere 10 days, was fired when Mozilla discovered he had donated $1,000 in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, the California mandate defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Reminiscent of the virulent outrage against Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy in 2012, gay rights activists denounce any public figure who states a belief in traditional marriage. It is unclear what the personal beliefs of these leaders have to do with their job, namely the direction and management of their companies. Yet, those in support of same-sex marriage have assumed the goal of making everyone who does not concur conform to their beliefs or stand quietly in the shadows saying nothing at all.
A recent LA Times article by Michael Hiltzik said: “The CEO of a company isn’t just any employee; he or she is the face of the company, the standard-bearer and very much the standard-setter. As CEO, Eich had the power to heavily influence corporate policy at Mozilla, and although he publicly stated that he would uphold Mozilla’s existing standards of inclusiveness and equal treatment in human relations, plainly these were at odds with his personal views.”
Hiltzik’s statements fundamentally describe the confusion over the marriage debate today. Those on the left, and supporters of gay rights in general, incorrectly assume that tolerance of gay people and the support of same-sex marriage are one and the same.
The Catholic Church, an entity known for its belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, is not intolerant of gay people. Pope Francis issued a statement which garnered him the attention of even the most liberal leaning publications such as Rolling Stone. When asked his opinion of gay people, Pope Francis poignantly responded, “Who am I to judge?”
Returning to the issue at hand, Eich did not (unlike Cathy) make public statements concerning his beliefs about homosexuality; he merely contributed money to a cause which supported his beliefs. To refute Hiltzik’s aforementioned statement, it is possible, indeed probable, that Eich would uphold Mozilla’s standards of equal treatment in the workplace because he is not intolerant of gay people. Rather, he belongs to a small sector of society that continue to affirm its same belief in traditional marriage.
Why is this belief not tolerated by the left and gay rights activists? Do those who believe in traditional marriage not deserve the same tolerance which homosexual individuals are demanding for themselves? It is not the intolerance of a group of people, rather the differences in defining a word that forms the foundation of the controversy.