Up front, I don’t really feel like I have the time or desire to write another word about this subject. In many ways, I feel like I’ve said all I have to say. But because of opinions and beliefs that I have shared on this site, I feel it important to express my feelings about a recent development in this on-going political debate. To be clear, I am not renouncing one opinion I have shared. If it appears to some that I am, I apologize. Please go back and read those things you think I’m betraying because I don’t believe you’ll find a contradiction. However, if you believe otherwise, I apologize. I have always been about open dialogue and finding common ground through love and acceptance. That’s it. Which is why what happened on April 3rd is so aggravating personally and destructive nationally.
Can we all agree on one thing up front? Regardless of your feelings on gay marriage, or any other form of marriage contrary to the long established “one man, one woman” mantra, the hard facts are that from a purely scientific point-of-view, an argument could be made for the status quo that has existed for centuries. I suppose if taken to its most biological and primate form, you could also make an argument for polygamy (which I am loathe to do and will not be doing) but in the end, the reality is, from a purely biological standpoint, you need a man and you need a woman to create life. Factor in religion, (whether you believe in God or a god or some sort of supreme power greater than humanity or just hold to the belief that religion’s existence is simply an opiate for the masses) and the basic reasoning for the creation of marriage centuries ago would seem to be a desire on the part of society to create an institution that would provide the best possible outcome for humans during their infancy and formative years. And whether or not you agree with that opinion in today’s world, it would be disingenuous to suggest that it is an opinion completely devoid of merit.
Now, to be fair, in the United States of 2014, we are well aware that the plight of the traditional family is far from healthy. And it would also be disingenuous to suggest that gay people or the idea of gay marriage is the reason why. My own personal viewpoint is that children born in circumstances that amount to first world poverty should be of far greater concern to the faithful than what two consenting adults of the same gender want to do with their lives. Furthermore, I would stand up and support the rights of two individuals of the same gender who are committed to each other in a long-term relationship to adopt a child because I believe the life provided to that child by two loving parents in a stable home is so much more preferable to what millions of children are growing up in within the borders of our nation.
But that’s just it. The ideas that I support in the paragraph above are simply my opinions. And I should be free to hold them and support them to whatever extent I deem acceptable within the context of my personal life. Which is where this ongoing political struggle regarding gay marriage took an ugly turn last week.
Brendan Eich is one of the co-founding members of Mozilla, the parent company behind the web browser Firefox. In 2008, Mr. Eich donated $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign fighting against gay marriage in the state of California. His donation became public when the opposition to Prop 8 requested the lists of people who donated so that they could make them public. I feel it is fair to say (since many who were involved in this process have essentially said as much themselves) that the purpose of making that list public was to shame to those who gave money to Prop 8. At the time, it had little effect on Mr. Eich. However, when he was announced as Mozilla’s new CEO a little over two weeks ago, certain proponents of gay marriage both within the company and without, made it their mission to get him removed. After ten days, they were successful.
What is so disturbing about this is the arguments that have been used to justify this in the aftermath. The New Yorker magazine stated that he was fair game because his political views on gay marriage were well known. They made no mention of how they became well known and in truth, Mr. Eich was never an outspoken advocate against gay marriage. He simply gave a donation. The only reason his views were well known is because of the “outing” (pardon the pun) of Prop 8 contributors by political foes for the specific purpose to cause damage.
Furthermore, The Los Angeles Times goes on to argue that because Mr. Eich is on the wrong side of history, his personal views, regardless of whether they affect the company or not, disqualify him from holding the office of CEO, especially in Silicon Valley where liberal views and support of gay marriage are the prevailing sentiment.
To this I say…WHAT????
There are several things I want to address, but first and foremost, let’s talk about this wrong side of history argument. The Los Angeles Times compares being against gay marriage in 2014 to being against interracial marriage or racial equality in…2014. It admits it may not be as retrograde, but still suggests that they are the same. The problem with this argument goes back to what I stated earlier. Regardless of whether anyone likes it or not, there is a biological argument that simply does not exist with regards to racial equality. I am not saying I adhere to this argument as being substantial enough to completely deny the benefits of marriage to gay people, but it is an argument that has not been fully laid to rest. Mainly, those who support gay marriage point to the fact that those who have been given the opportunity to enjoy marriage in a heterosexual relationship have not handled their stewardship well and therefore don’t deserve the right to define marriage in today’s society. Divorce rates well above 50% indicate they are right. But that doesn’t fully address the basic biological argument. Especially when it is combined with a religious component. Therefore the argument in 2014 is hardly laid to rest. Bottom line, to say that the “wrong side of history” had been fully developed and therefore justifiable grounds for discrimination is a tad sinister. Could it be that in years to come Mr. Eich is discovered to have been on the wrong side of history? It is certainly possible. But also on the wrong side of history is disqualifying individuals for privately held convictions. Just ask Joseph McCarthy.
Secondly, the argument that he was not fit to serve because the political make-up of Silicon Valley is predominately pro gay marriage is also ludicrous. If those who supported Prop 8 had also publicized the names of everyone giving money to their opposition, would those justifying Mr. Eich’s ouster be so quick to support the ouster of…let’s say the CEO of Cabelas sporting goods. I have no knowledge of Mr. Millner’s view on gay marriage, but if he had given money to fight Prop 8 in California and had then been forced to resign because the hunting and fishing community is predominately anti-gay marriage, the resulting explosion from those justifying Mr. Eich’s ouster would have been heard ’round the world. And rightly so.
Finally, I turned to Slate.com. And here, I found a compelling piece of editorial journalism. Mr. Bouie’s argument is that if Mr. Eich’s removal was unfair, it was only a high profile example of what many who are gay, and live in states that do not have laws protecting gay individuals from being fired for their sexual orientation, face. To this argument I say, okay, I agree with this one. Neither is right and both should not happen. I find no issue with joining Mr. Bouie’s call for every state to work toward non-discrimination laws that extend to sexual orientation. Because as he states so eloquently, “For as much as employer flexibility is important to a dynamic economy, it’s also true that no one should fear firing for the people they love, the identity they claim, or the donations they make.” Now there’s a rational thought in the middle of hysteria.
Bottom line, I believe the world is changing. I believe the realization on the part of religious people the world over that same-sex attraction is not easily explained away is becoming more widespread and is fostering an environment that could be beneficial to all. Should it have happened years, decades, and possibly even centuries earlier? Yes. It should have. But it’s happening now. And while advancements may not come as quickly as some would like, taking actions like those that were taken against Mr. Eich will not help anyone. They will only further divide and foster more anger. Which is ironic since this whole argument exists over the rights of each individual to love whom they will.