Ouster of Mozilla CEO a 'silencing of dissent,' says lawmaker

 

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said Monday that the decision of tech company Mozilla to force out its new CEO for supporting traditional marriage is a "deeply troubling" event that will have a chilling effect on free speech.

Brendan Eich resigned last week as CEO of Mozilla, the company that created the Firefox browser, after a dating website said it would no longer use Firefox because Eich supported a California proposition that banned same-sex marriage. Eich donated $1,000 in support of that proposition.

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Wolf said the company's actions send the message that people are not entitled to hold their own beliefs, and said there was no evidence that Eich was trying to merge his beliefs with those of the company he led.

"Regardless of your views on marriage, any American who values the First Amendment should be deeply troubled that this man was essentially driven from his job because of his personal beliefs," Wolf said on the House floor.

"Nowhere have I read that Mr. Eich ever discriminated against co-workers. In fact, by all accounts, he is a fair and honorable employer," he added. "Yet because of his private beliefs about traditional marriage, which I share, he has been demonized and his livelihood has been compromised."

"Reasonable people can disagree on issues. In fact, robust debate in the public square is in itself an American hallmark," Wolf concluded.

"But what happened last week was not debate. It was stifling of debate, it was a silencing of dissent, it was the compromising of two of our nation's most cherished principles: freedom of speech, and freedom of religion."