Eich resigns as Mozilla CEO after anti-gay marriage flap

(Photo: Mozilla)Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich

Mozilla's new CEO Brendan Eich resigned his post "for Mozilla and our community" as a consequence of his apparent opposition to same-sex marriage.

Mozilla's board chairman Mitchell Baker announced Eich's resignation in a blog post Thursday.

He wrote that Brendan Eich had chosen to step down from his role as CEO. Baker  said Eich made this decision for Mozilla and their community. Eich later confirmed the news.

"I have decided to resign as CEO effective today, and leave Mozilla. Our mission is bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader. I will be taking time before I decide what to do next," he said in a statement.

Eich was named CEO of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation just two weeks ago. Mozilla builds the Firefox Web browser, which also advocates an open, inclusive Internet. Eich co-founded Mozilla in 1998. He served as the group's chief technology officer for nearly a decade before being named CEO.

"Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech," Baker said. "And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."

His presidency was placed in turmoil after reports revealed he had donated $1,000 to support California's Proposition 8 in 2008. The anti-gay marriage bill rescinded the right for gay couples to marry until it was overturned in 2013.

Dating site OkCupid took an aggressive stand against Eich, blocking Firefox users from directly accessing the site by forcing them to see a letter of protest written by OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder. On April 4, OKCupid unblocked Firefox.

Dylan Tweney blogged on Venture Beat News, "There are a lot of reasons to be sorry about this outcome. Eich was a talented, committed technologist who helped create JavaScript and is one of the founders of Mozilla. He showed every sign of being a responsible, ethical CEO whose work values were in complete alignment with Mozilla's.

"His personal views are repellent to many of us, but his actions — apart from the donation — were on the level."

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