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back to article In Australia, protesting against Brendan Eich will be a CRIME

Come to Australia, Brendan Eich: our freedom-of-speech government wants to protect you against the pesky business of community outrage. The outcry that led to Eich's resignation today as CEO of Mozilla over his past support for an anti-gay-marriage bill in California is something that's exercising the mind of the Australian …

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Boycott The Australian Government?

That'd be fun! :D

... and scary!

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Re: Boycott The Australian Government?

Or we send Boycott in to bat against the Australian government.

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Pint

Re: Boycott The Australian Government?

"I think England will win a Test. My concern is Australia will probably win two."

Geoff Boycott

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Boycott The Australian Government?

In the words of Deep Thought: who'd notice?

I mean, the entire Australian government closes down for all of January, and nobody notices. The sooner the states leave the Commonwealth the better for them.

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Background

Something missing in the piece is the current issues around extreme union corruption and secondary action currently going on in Oz. Somewhat akin to the "flying pickets" we saw in the UK in the 1980's.

I have to also disagree with the idea that the idea that , "It was about whether his actions were consistent with the Mozilla community's values – and whether the community had a right to tell Mozilla what it thought." It was OKCupid creating publicity for itself.

Personally I find seeking financial gain from destroying someone's employment to be an unpleasant business strategy. If Eich had tried to get Moz dev's into include, "Oppose Gay Marriage" in the Firefox title bar there might have been some grounds for the campaign, but that wasn't the case. There was no indication that his personal beliefs on gay marriage entered into the Mozilla project.

Putting OKCupid's financial incentives aside, the legal situation is "on the other foot" at the moment. Institutions are not allowed, by law, to exclude those who don't conform to their organisational values when making employment decisions, even when those values are the reason the organisation exists. Personal beliefs cannot be considered when determining employment suitability. Surely the point of such protest is to get Mozilla not to hire such people to start with. In which case we need to overturn the legal prohibition on personal beliefs being grounds for (employment) discrimination.

Do we want personal beliefs to become a valid basis for determining employment? "Are you an atheist? I'm sorry, I don't want your kind in my school."

Why would you allow a financially damaging protest if you aren't going to allow companies to do anything about it? Do you secretly want personal beliefs to be relevant to employment status but only when you think it will result in decisions you like? That isn't freedom. That's just being sneaky in using the law to enforce your morality. If you really believe that, just campaign for a law which makes a declaration that you support gay marriage a condition of employment. That is the logical conclusion and the ultimate goal isn't it?

I'm all for protest, but you also have to allow people with differing views to co-exist. If "winning" means all the people with opposing views keep them quiet for fear of losing their jobs, you haven't won, you've just censored. Harmony is mostly an illusion, people do have differing views and you may as well let them speak without fear of reprisal. In the West, we used to think that was of some value.

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Re: Background

Eich personally donated money to Calif. Prop 8 which was a law to ban gay marriage.

While I am not gay, I find it repulsive that anyone would stop two people who love each from making it formal. This life is hard enough as it is.

Being able to create a family of some kind is a basic human right.

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Devil

Re: Background

That's odd. In my biology text, you need two members of the opposite sex to create offsprint. It must be out of date ... not sufficiently PC for the modern world.

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Re: Background

"Family" does not necessarily mean "children", just so you know.

Also there's enough straight but sterile couples out there who've taken kids in from care homes. I guess they aren't a family, then.

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Re: Background @ Fluffy Bunny

I know two families which each consist of same-sex parents and a child. Both are great, stable, loving families, and the children are lucky to have such awesome parents. As for your biology text... did it mention adoption and did it mention sperm donation?

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@FluffyB Re: Background

Read it again. He said 'create a family', not 'make a baby'. Reproduction is not a qualifying condition for being a family.

Just sayin

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Re: Background

Institutions are not allowed, by law, to exclude those who don't conform to their organisational values when making employment decisions, even when those values are the reason the organisation exists.

P. Lee, could you expand on this legal theory? Because it seems to me this happens all the freaking time. Considering the obvious impossibility of firing someone for unspoken, unacted-on values, I can only assume you mean it's illegal to fire someone based on the presumed values inferred from their words and deeds. Is that really true? Can you back it up?

Or are you only saying it's illegal to ask someone their values and then fire them for the answer (as in your atheist example)? I can more easily believe that, but I don't see what it has to do with this case, since that isn't what happened.

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Re: Background

>Also there's enough straight but sterile couples out there who've taken kids in from care homes. I guess they aren't a family, then.

The difference lies in the fact that the sterile couples will be providing what every child needs "A mother figure and a father figure" whch has been shown to be vitale for the psychological upbrging off a child..

I don't doubt that some gays might be capable of providing a good environment but I can easilly imagine that many/most of them will not be ready or even remotely capable of providing for a child .

Studies are now starting to arise about the problems that having gay parents creates. Within the next 10 years of so I believe that we will begin to see a rise in the quantity of some very troubled people. Just ow to do repair that kind of damage.

Nature does not provide a means for gays to reproduce, I think that nature has taken that decision for a reason. Give gays an island on which they can have all the rights they want, how would nature deal with that situation ? Or did nature get things wrong ?

Being gay is a choice not a condition.

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Re: Background

My word, it's like Rick Santorum has just joined the forums. Hi, Rick.

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Since you played the "repulsive" card

What I find repulsive is when people insist on changing the meanings of words.

The correct terminology is "sodomy" not "marriage"

Just exercising my right of free speech. Feel free to try to get me fired if you like.

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Re: Background

Actually, there is quite a lot of the discrimniation you are describiing already going on.

In my country some schools and kindergardens are run by church organisation.

The kids don't have to pray or hear anything about the bible outside of relegion-classes (from which they can opt out), but the teachers must not be atheist but belong to the church (Not sure, wether or not you have to a protestant in order to teach at a protestant school, but it is true, that you must not be an atheist)

About Eich: He was the CEO. He was the face of the company. He was the person who represented the company, its values, its belives and its future to the outside world. He would have given keynote speaches at big conventions in front of thousands of people, he would have been the one to shape hirering policys and so on.

He surely wouldn't have been so stupid as to add a banner to firefox filled with hate messages, but he had the power to do a lot more and that a lot more subtle. Like promoting an HR droid who only hires straight people and leaving the one that also hired gays to rot in his position for years. On conferences for big companys (that are held behind closed doors) he could try and convince his colleagues to discriminate against gays, after all, the puplic doesn't seem to care.

In the end, Eich was only the example to the industrie.

If the CEOs act against the moral belives of their customers, those customers wil cause such a ruckus, that they might loose their jobs.

And please note, that the customers did, what "everyone" always tells them to do.

They voted with their wallet.

They stoped using the product of the company (in this case the Browser Firefox) and used an alternative (like say Chrome).

Pages like OKCupid only saw to it, that people were informed, just like those groups on the market square try to inform us about hunger in the third world and that we should buy fair trade stuff instead of the cheaper exploitive products.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: Background

"Like promoting an HR droid who only hires straight people and leaving the one that also hired gays to rot in his position for years. On conferences for big companys (that are held behind closed doors) he could try and convince his colleagues to discriminate against gays, after all, the puplic doesn't seem to care."

Yes, and now the new CEO might hire a pro-gay who only promotes gays and encourages other managers to discriminate against straights who supported Eich! Oh no!

/sarcasm.

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Re: Background

So, all those kids that grow up with only one parent (due to divorce, death of the other parent, or whatever), are also always "troubled" as you say since they don't have a father and mother figure either?

And what about all those kids that are stuck in foster care? They have a lot of "siblings" but no real mother or father figures unless they are adopted.

Why do you belive, that most gay families are not able to provide for a child?

Their children are pretty much always planed, since there can't have any by accidents (The only scenario I can think of, where an unplaned pregnancy can ocurre for a lesbialn couple is through rape by bastards who wanted to show her what she's missing...)

Hence they have time and wilingness to prepare for a child.

On the flip side, how many hetereo families are prepared to provide for a child?

And to top it of: How would you define "beeing prepared to proivde for a child" anyway?

Yes, nature does not provide a way for gay couples to reproduce, but that does not mean, that they aren't mentally able to care for a one. There are enough examples of that in Zoos all over the world.

Nope, I do not belive that beeing atracted to members of the own sex is a choice, just like it isn't a chioce to like the taste of strawberries but hating the taste of bananas...

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Re: Since you played the "repulsive" card

The correct terminology is "sodomy" not "marriage"

And the correct position is missionary, and solely for the purpose of procreation, amirite?

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Re: Background

*Yes, and now the new CEO might hire a pro-gay who only promotes gays and encourages other managers to discriminate against straights who supported Eich! Oh no!*

Then, hopefully, the pro-hetero community will cause the same outry, the pro-homo community created. *shrugs*

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Re: Background

"... the new CEO might hire a pro-gay who only promotes gays ..."

Well, given that gays make up only a small percentage of the population (4% is the usual figure given, but it could be as high as 10%), wouldn't that require a lot of people to change tracks from what they are already doing to become the staff that Mozilla need?

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Re: @FluffyB Background

Exactly DiViDed.

"Family" does not always mean "make babies".

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Re: Background

@Coward:

As most sane people know, there is in fact zero evidence connecting same sex families with "problems". The attempt to push the thesis that "studies are now starting to arise" is utter bullwossname, and cannot be substantiated in any way, shape or form. The not-terminally-dumb know this because every time some anti-same-sex bigot tries to raise it in (say) a court challenge to the discriminate-against-LGBT laws, it gets thrown out.

So there are, in fact, no studies linking any kind of child rearing problem with same sex parenting. None, Zip. What there are are studies linking dysfunctional families with problems, but the overwhelming majority of dysfunctional families are opposite-sex, leading to the obvious conclusion...

Lastly, the "choice" statement is without doubt utterly vile bigotry. But being a vile bigot is a choice, not a condition.

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Trollface

Re: Background

Ecofeco has a sane and rational position. ALL arbitrary definitions of "family" are equally righteous. Polygamy, Bigamy and Incest must all be made legal because ecofeco says so. This life is hard enough as it is without being able to marry as many women, men and vegetables as you want. Being able to create a family of SOME KIND is a basic human right. Equality of nonsense NOW!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @FluffyB Background

>"Family" does not always mean "make babies".

I think you will find that the term familly, when applied to human beings, is commonly thought of as being 2 parents and 1 or more offspring. The exception being "a single parent familly" which did at some point necessitate "the making of babies".

So in general it does actually mean "make babies".

As for studies proclaiming that Gay parents are good/bad, well none of them can see into the future, so none of them are really worth anything at all, we are only in the early stages. Evolution will have it's word to say at a later stage ( ..........shudder.........)

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Re: Background

@Malcom

Regardless of whether or not this guy is Pro or Anti, he does bring up some very relevant points about the studies that have been made.

http://tomohalloran.com/2014/03/26/gay-parenting-studies-flawed/

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Re: @FluffyB Background

I think you will find that the term familly, when applied to human beings, is commonly thought of as being 2 parents and 1 or more offspring.

I think you would find that it isn't, if you were capable of 1) reading comprehension and 2) critical thinking. But I suspect those two conditions are not satisfied.

But if you'd like to provide some evidence to support your daring thesis about the common use of the word "family", I'm sure we'd love to laugh at it.

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Is this really a freedom of speech issue?

If you have freedom of speech and action, you can say what you want and do what you want, but that comes with the responsibility to respect the same right for others.

That includes both being gay AND chanting anti-gay slogans.

It is freedom of speech to make your posters and wave them around. It is not freedom of speech to deface other people's posters - that is just vandalism.

You cannot claim a right to free speech while attempting to stifle the free expression of others.

If he had just stuck to saying "gays are unnatural", "I support Prop 8" or whatever, that would have been within the bounds of freedom of speech.

Eich was not just speaking freely, he was also paying money towards a cause that was trying to enact anti-gay legislation. That legislation would suppressed the rights of others. That goes beyond freedom of speech. This is surely what the fuss is about.

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Megaphone

Re: Is this really a freedom of speech issue?

In the US, we tend to have an expansive view of free speech. If you can't contribute to support a political cause you believe in, your free speech is being limited, just as if someone stopped you from going around putting posters on notice boards, or paying for those posters, or paying for the taxi fare to pickup the posters, and so forth.

It's also worth noting that the legislative/legal issue is not about a right, it's about government recognition and support of a specific pre-existing social arrangement that it believes to have benefits for society as a whole. The government doesn't recognize marriages between very young people, or between more than two people, and so forth -- it's not technically a "right". The government (via the legislature, via the voters) decides what social arrangements it will officially recognize, and as long as there's some non-wacko reasoning behind it (even if many think that reasoning wrong), the courts don't get to over-rule the decision.

I'm glad that more and more people are realizing that government recognition of same-sex marriage has a positive effect on society and it seems a shame for some late-to-the-party zealots to single out someone's political contribution from 5 or 10 years ago without also attacking the others who did the same or similar, such as the Clintons and President Obama (those who pushed to impeach President Clinton and/or President Obama due to each's furtherance of the federal Defense of Marriage law are of course exempt from being called hypocrites here :) ).

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Re: Is this really a freedom of speech issue?

As I posted on another Reg thread on this topic, I contributed time and money to the pro-gay marriage campaign. I could just as easily have been on the wrong side of history if things were slightly different. Should I, or higher profile supporters, have been hounded from a job in that case?

Overall, the people that (wrongly) made a fuss about Eich for daring to have an opinion that didn't match theirs (and mine) were entitled to do it - I'm a radical supporter of free speech (even shouting "Fire" in a crowded place), as I've posted previously - but Mozilla were wrong to give in instead of supporting their chosen CEO. There were other ways of managing this situation in which all could have been winners, instead of what we have, which is all coming out as losers.

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Forbes was also defending him

Forbes also had an article saying "the backlash" against him had gone too far.

Poor, poor CEO who was trying to take away a group's human rights. Poor, poor CEO.

Cry me a river.

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Devil

Re: Forbes was also defending him

But not a word about the people taking Eich's right to employment away. Hitler would be proud of you.

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Re: Forbes was also defending him

Most of the US has an "at will" employment policy. This means a company can fire any employee, at will. No cause required.

Poor, poor CEO. Cry me a river.

Good for the goose but not the gander, eh?

BTW, in case you haven't notice, FF has become bugging as hell in the last few years. Maybe this was just the excuse needed to oust the man in charge?

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Re: Forbes was also defending him

But not a word about the people taking Eich's right to employment away.

Perhaps because that didn't happen. In this instance, no one infringed on Brenan Eich's rights in any way, at least according to all the publicly available evidence. If you have evidence suggesting otherwise - that he was fired without cause by Mozilla, say, or that someone coerced him into leaving his position by credible threat of violence - feel free to present it.

Hitler would be proud of you.

No, wait, sorry. Per Godwin, you lose. Now kindly fuck off.

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Big Brother

Welcome to the Brave New World

Not dissimilar to the situation in the US, where corporations now have equal rights to humans. Given the resources available to corporations, the Supreme Court rulings essentially give corporations more power. In some US states you can be prosecuted for photographing/video recording abuse of farm animals.

There are ways around anti-boycott laws. Instead of saying "Company A is prejudiced, don't use their stuff," you can say, "Company B isn't prejudiced," and leave the rest up to the reader.

Governments who try on such practices only open themselves up to bigger problems down the line. Unfortunately, too many of them then resort to setting snipers on rooftops and sending journalists to prison. History shows such governments may last a while, but sooner or later their sins come back to bite them. Our governments may be starting down roads that lead to tragedy.

NB: No matter where you stand on a particular issue, remember this: If they can get away with doing something to one group of people, they have normalized that practice. So tomorrow they'll feel perfectly justified in doing it to you if it suits them.

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Childcatcher

About Proposition 8

What isn't talked about is the content of the Proposition 8 campaign. The videos produced by its supporters were about as nasty as you can imagine. The thrust was that gays were a threat to children, a guaranteed fear tactic. The whole campaign revolved around demonizing gay people. It was hate speech from start to finish. Eich's $1000 helped underwrite that campaign. Trying to make Eich out to be a martyr for free speech is a sad joke.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PgjcgqFYP4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqDGhdiXz-U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kKn5LNhNto

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Re: About Proposition 8

Free speech is free speech - it doesn't matter what is being said. If someone is saying something you don't like, either argue with them or ignore them. Banning them is cowardly.

Oh, and the nasty campaigning didn't work, did it? Letting people show how awful their ideas are is a good way of making people turn against them.

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Re: About Proposition 8

Intractable Potsherd, that depends upon how one defines “work”. Californian voters approved Proposition 8; it was ultimately thrown out via the Supreme Court.

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Re: About Proposition 8

I do see your point.

On the other hand, do you know for a fact that every time you donate money to an organization for a cause they will use them in a manner that you totally approve?

I m not defending anyone here but I feel that everyone deserves the benefit of doubt.

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Anonymous Coward

Who is next?

Enough said.

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Big Brother

Law in Australia

For those of you discussing free speech rights .. just be aware that there is no right to free speech in Australia (unless you are a politician in parliament).

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Re: Law in Australia

Hell, right to free speech? A few years ago when one of GWB's cronies was isiting Sydney, I discovered we don't even have the right to drive to the bloody airport! Of course, that's nowhere near the poor sod who discovered that trying to excercise your right to cross the bloody road earns you the right to receive a damn good kicking from Aussie cops.

Welcome to Australia. Free speech? We've heard of it.

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If he wasn't breaking any law he's entitled to donate funds to whoever he likes; there's no law against being an ass. I thought the whole thing reeked of hypocrisy from both sides.

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Anonymous Coward

There's no law against him being an ass - and there is no law against me dropping his product because of it.

If Brand-X sponsors Lance Armstrong because it wanted me to associate Brand-X with sporting achievement, if I now stop buying Brand-X because I associate it with the cheating - that's not really my fault. And a law saying that I have to keep loving Brand-X seems somewhat unworkable.

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There's also no law in most of the US against firing an employee at will. Is a CEO somehow an exception?

Good for goose but not the gander, eh?

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Devil

Must be true

' groups like GetUp! “... should not be able to say things that are not true.” '

I agree wholeheartedly with this ideal. For too long, groups like GetUp and the antivaccination mob have been allowed to get away with all sorts of outrageous lies, all while mascerading as independents. They have caused immense harm to society generally and the fools that believe them in particular.

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WTF?

Re: Must be true

You are putting GetUp and the antivaccination mob in the same basket? Seriously? They could not be more different: GetUp publish verified facts, the antivaccination mob publish outrageous lies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Must be true

GetUp! != Antivaxer morons.

Go back to reading your favourite Murdoch hate-sheet.

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should not be able to run a specific business-focussed or market-focussed campaign...

Why the hell not? If a specific business is doing something wrong, that business needs to be called out.

...and they should not be able to say things that are not true.

OK, I'm fine with that. The same rule should also apply to the businesses, and (drum roll please) to politicians as well.

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King Tony

The LNP government here in Aus is a barking-mad, right-wing, bagger-wannabe, xstain-fundy bunch of idiots.

Too harsh?

Not even close.

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In a lot of the Eich-should-be-allowed-to-be-a-CEO-bigot moaning, I see few people commenting on the unassailable fact:

Eich was a crap CEO.

Something controversial came up (both within and outside Mozilla). Eich failed to do anything vaguely effective towards managing the controversy.

Ergo Eich was an ineffective leader, and thus a crap CEO who should have been kicked out had he not left. Not because he is a bigot, but because he cannot manage the controversy.

There is a secondary side, too: the board that appointed Eich was a crap board, too. But that doesn't change the crapness of Eich.

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