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Michigan officials ask full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel to hear marriage equality case

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Michigan state sealState officials in Michigan are asking the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear DeBoer v. Snyder, the challenge to the state’s same-sex marriage ban, with a full panel of all Sixth Circuit judges.

The state has requested an initial en banc hearing, arguing that same-sex marriage is an important issue that merits the full panel’s review. Normally, a three-judge panel would hear an appeal, and a party can ask for rehearing with the full panel of circuit judges. But in exceptional circumstances, an appeals court will take the step of hearing the case initially with all judges.

The state argues that an initial en banc hearing “will promote judicial economy and bring about a swifter resolution of this important issue,” pointing out that all states that fall within the Sixth Circuit now have same-sex marriage cases pending in the appeals court. Those appeals will be heard by randomly-picked three-judge panels and the decisions could come out differently. An en banc panel could issue a decision that’s binding on the other cases.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

For more information on DeBoer v. Snyder from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. CarrotCakeMan  |  April 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    But it also means Michigan state officials can't drag out a revocation by appealing for an en banc hearing.

  • 2. david  |  April 5, 2014 at 3:29 am

    yes, true… this may not be a bad thing as MI Ag and Gov are feeling heat to move on to other issues…. so they are now trying to push it thru quicker

  • 3. Pat  |  April 4, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Sounds like it might prevent later delays? (or is a full review likely to be scheduled at a much later date in order to accommoate everybody's schedule?)

  • 4. Scottie Thomaston  |  April 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I doubt the timing would change at all. But it would remove any delays before seeking SCOTUS review, because if it's granted, once a decision comes down, the next step would be for the losing party to petition SCOTUS for review. Whereas with a three-judge panel, the losing party could always ask the full appeals court to review it.

  • 5. Lee  |  April 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Not surprised they would want to do this since the current composition of the judges in that circuit are mostly appointed by the two Bushes and Reagan.

  • 6. Tyler O.  |  April 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm


  • 7. Tim  |  April 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    It's a 60% R 40% D split (one was nominated by Clinton and renominated by Bush). Whether they did a 3 panel review or en banc that reality wouldn't change.

  • 8. Guest  |  April 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I suspect that when it comes to gay marriage it doesn't matter who was appointed by who. There simply is no reason, none, zip, nada, to ban us from marrying. This game is over for Christian inc. However, because of the emptiness of their religion, I have no doubt they'll continue to manifest discrimination, but they'll continue to lose in the federal court system. I simply wish a federal judge would talk straight to these bigots and put them in their place.

  • 9. Steve  |  April 5, 2014 at 6:23 am

    How seriously they take religion is a better predictor. There have been a few judges here and there who clearly based their arguments on their religious beliefs.

  • 10. Zack12  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Most of them Mormons.

  • 11. Steve  |  April 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    The Mormons are still officially evil:

  • 12. Rick O.  |  April 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Michigan's request is mathematical. The whole court is of known makeup. A random 3 judge selection is not, but with a 60/40 pool the possibility of a "bad" draw is a distinct possibility.

  • 13. KarlS  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:43 am

    I'm not following your seems to me .a random selection of 3 judges can yield 4 possibilities,
    3 good
    2 good 1 bad
    2 bad 1 good
    3 bad

    (this is assuming the court is evenly divided between 'good' and 'bad'. It seems like the odds are even either way…have I missed something?

  • 14. KarlS  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Oops sorry I somehow completely missed the word "pool" in your message…I see you were correct, my bad.

  • 15. Dr. Z  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Given how many Republican judges have sided with us to date, the "good/bad" assumption is questionable (and if memory serves, one of the judges who sided against us in an appelate decision during the runup to Windsor in either the First or Second Circuit was appointed by Clinton.)

    A better model may be that there are a handful of judges in any circuit who will rule against us, no matter what, with the rest being fair minded and open to the merits. There is a chance of a bad draw on a three-judge panel that could cause us to lose; but the "bad judges" are so diluted on an en banc that they can't win. It's inexplicable why the state would have made this request, unless they're just so badly out of touch with the changes in the country that they still believe the "vast majority" (overused phrase) still supports their side even now. I think if the Sixth circuit decides this en banc that we will win. If a panel decides it, there is a chance we could get unlucky and have a setback.

  • 16. Lymis  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Exactly. At this point, almost all of the justifications for the ban are insupportable, either because they don't actually have anything to do with marriage eligibility or are things that straight people are free to choose to do or not within their marriages, or they are bare appeals to tradition or religion or both.

    Any judge who decides against marriage equality at this point is by definition going to be siding with the weaker legal argument, and by extension, deliberately siding with the wrong side of history.

    Bigotry aside, marriage is an inherently conservative institution, while equal access to the benefits of marriage is a liberal proposition. The assumption that a legally competent, responsible justice would automatically vote against us because they are a Republican, or a Republican appointee, isn't necessarily warranted – as people said, look at all the conservative judges who have found in our favor.

  • 17. Dr. Z  |  April 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    It's a significant, but easily overlooked point that federal judges aren't elected. A Republican judge doesn't have to worry about appeasing the crazy Republican base; so they react differently than Republican representatives in Congress.

  • 18. David  |  April 5, 2014 at 3:26 am

    MI case is different as 9 days of testimony was heard and now the request fro En Banc is ok as it will allow MI -> AG and Gov to finally get on to more important issues facing our state. then all four case UT,OK, VA and MI ( bundled with OH,TN and KY) will be on SCOTUS radar fro a fall review.

  • 19. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:41 am

    […] USA, Michigan: The state is requesting a full Sixth Circuit panel to review the marriage equality lawsuit appeal instead of the usual 3 judge panel. full story […]

  • 20. Josh  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I think this sounds great. Let them all hear and decide the case and get it over with sooner than later. A unanimous ruling would be awesome!! 🙂

  • 21. Retired lawyer  |  April 5, 2014 at 8:05 am

    This request for en banc treatment of DeBoer v. Snyder by the State of Michigan strikes me as a very favorable development for us. The case involves an especially sympathetic factual background, two nurses with three adopted special needs children among them, and was decided by an experienced senior judge, appointed by Ronald Reagan, who had been a State judge in Michigan before that. Moreover, the decision followed the only full dress trial to be held since last June's Windsor decision in the Supreme Court. DeBoer is a perfect refutation of the "think of the children" argument being advanced by the ADF and other anti-gay litigants. The judge shredded the defense witnesses, especially Mark Regnerus. An appellate court will have to take as proven the findings of fact made by the trial judge.

  • 22. Sagesse  |  April 5, 2014 at 9:39 am

    This issue is not helping any Republican anywhere. They are literally on the defensive, since they've lost all the the recent cases. But they have to defend it. Not sure what the appeals court timing is in Michigan, but they could find themselves come election time having lost twice, and seeking en banc review for a third time. They have reason to just want it to go away as quickly as possible.

  • 23. Cherylg43  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:13 am

    AG Schuette and Gov Snyder have launched their re-election campaigns.
    For a year, the Free Press and MLive have featured photos and stories about Michigan gay families.

    Snyder (politician, no statesman) has started distancing himself from the appeal.
    When asked about it, he says 'go ask Schuette.'

    Schuette's defence of the ban is "the will of the voters." "Baker vNelson holds."
    MLive just released a new poll – from MSU, April 2014

  • 24. Lee  |  April 5, 2014 at 11:03 am

    “For those who are opposed to gay marriage: Can you list some specific, tangible harms to society from gay marriage? For instance, in the states have allowed gay marriages in recent years, what tangible, negative impacts have been experienced?”

    A great question asked by the MLIVE reporter in that report.

  • 25. bayareajohn  |  April 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Interesting that being Republican is a much higher predictor of being anti-SSM than being Catholic or Protestant.

    Maybe it's not the Religious who are dragging the GOP further right…

  • 26. Sagesse  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:40 am

    How Rare Are Anti-Gay-Marriage Donations in Silicon Valley? [FiveThirtyEight]

    You can always count on Nate Sliver to find the facts.

  • 27. Lee  |  April 5, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Revisionism of the Bible??? Anyone know where in the Bible saying God “designated the purpose of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults, to more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured”?

    "While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not," said Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve. "He designated the purpose of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults, to more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured." A top Mormon leader reiterated the church's opposition to gay marriage Saturday during the church's biannual general conference.

  • 28. Guest  |  April 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    What is truth? – Pontius Pilate

  • 29. ABC  |  April 7, 2014 at 6:44 am

    "Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth" is a child-centered reference in Genesis

  • 30. Straight Ally #3008  |  April 7, 2014 at 6:47 am

    We're so far past "replenish" it's not even funny….

  • 31. ABC  |  April 7, 2014 at 6:53 am

    <Just wanted to point out Elder Andersen has the bible backing him up.>

  • 32. SoCal_Dave  |  April 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Not really. It is perhaps a child-centered reference, but says nothing about it being the purpose of marriage. It also says nothing about raising those children in an "ideal" or any other setting.

  • 33. bayareajohn  |  April 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    We'll just have to keep reminding ourselves, trolls arrive only when a blog is relevant and popular and maybe effective.

  • 34. Pat  |  April 5, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I was also wondering about the statistical advantage of having either a full court of 60%R / 40%D review the case compared to a random panel of 3 judges, and made a little math.
    There are 15 actives judges in the Sixth circuit (1 seat is vacant), with 10 of them appointed by a Republican president, and 5 by a Democratic president. However, as Tim was mentioning, one was nominated by Clinton and renominated by Bush, so we can count 9 Republican nominations and 6 Democratic nominations (then it corresponds to the 60%-40% split mentioned by Tim).

    First of all, there are 455 different ways of picking a random panel of 3 judges among a group of 15. Among these panels:
    – 18.5% are made of 3 Republican nominees (RRR)
    – 47.5% are made of 2 Reps and 1 Dem nominees (RRD)
    – 29.7% are made of 1 Rep and 2 Dem nominees (RDD)
    – 4.4% are made of 3 Democratic nominees (DDD)

  • 35. Pat  |  April 5, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    As Dr Z. said, the assumption of whether Rep/Dem judges are better or worse is questionable since we had lots of successes with Republican appointees. But we can probably agree that the probability that a random Democratic judge supports gay issues is somewhat higher than the probability that a random Republican judge does so.
    What's the probability for each party? For the sake of the discussion, let's assume that a Republican nominee has 50% chance of siding with us, and a Dem nominee has 80% chance of doing so.

    – we can calculate that the probability that a panel of 3 Democratic judges sides with us (i.e. *at least* 2 judges vote for gay rights) can be calculated and is 89.6%
    – we can do the same for all possible panel makeups and get this:

    * RRR panels: 50% chance that a majority votes for gay rights
    * RRD panels: 65% chance that a majority votes for gay rights
    * RDD panels: 80% chance that a majority votes for gay rights
    * DDD panels: 89.6% chance that a majority votes for gay rights

    Finally, given the relative probability of occurrence of each panel makeup (calculated in the previous comment), we can compute the overall probability that a random panel of 3 judges in a pool of 9 Rep nominees and 6 Dem nominees supports gay issues:
    18.5%*50% + 47.1%*65% + 29.7%*80% + 4.4%*89.6% = 67.8%

  • 36. Pat  |  April 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Now how does that compare with choosing to have the full court of 15 judges review the case?
    We can make a similar calculation: i.e. the probability that a majority of the court (at least 8 judges out of 15) votes for us given that there are 9 Republican nominees and 6 Dem nominees and with our earlier assumption that Reps are 50% likely to side with us and Dems are 80% likely to do so.

    In that case, the probability that the full court sides with us is as high as 84.3% !

    Therefore it seems that this was not such a smart move on their part.

  • 37. Pat  |  April 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Of course, we can argue about whether the values assumed p(R)=50% and p(D)=80% are realistic.
    Other sets of values with the following results:

    with p(R)=60% and p(D)=90%, the overall chance of having a 3-judge panel side with us is 81%, while the overall chance of having the full court side with us is 97%

    with p(R)=40% and p(D)=70%, the overall chance of having a 3-judge panel side with us is 53%, while the overall chance of having the full court side with us is 57%

    the trend is opposite with p(R)=40% and p(D)=60%: then the overall chance of having a 3-judge panel side with us is 47%, while the overall chance of having the full court side with us is slightly less at 44%

    OK sorry for trolling the thread with that silly math… Just my geeky side 🙂

  • 38. Pat  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    OK, last one and i disappear:
    Finally, assuming that Dem and Rep nominees are all equally likely to vote for or against gay rights, each with the same probability P, then:
    – the probability to get a favorable outcome is better with the full court as long as each judge is more likely than not to side with us. In other words, there is better chance with the full court when P>50%.

    * if P=60% (each judge has a 60% chance of voting for gay rights), then there is a 65% chance that a random 3-judge panel has a majority for us, and there is a 79% chance that a full 15-judge court has a majority for us.
    * if P=70%, then the chance is 78% for the panel and 95% for the full court
    * if P=80% then the chance is 90% for the panel and 99.6% for the full court
    * but if P=40%, then the chance is better for the panel (35%) than for the full court (21%)

    That's because with a higher number of votes, the individual probability P of each judge will tend to match the % of judges in the court who vote that way…
    (OK now i go…)

  • 39. Dr. Z  |  April 6, 2014 at 3:09 am

    The way things are headed, you might be better off modeling the homophobes using a Poisson distribution. 🙂

  • 40. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Another thing to remember:

    The closer to demise, the more fierce the attack. Like a cornered and trapped rat, the banning of Marriage Equality in the US (at least) is nearing total demise, so the backers of that banning are getting fiercer and fiercer.

    The more fierce, thus the more asinine, the attack, the closer we are to winning the issue of Marriage Equality, IMO.

  • 41. Straight Ally #3008  |  April 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Agreed, although the more savvy ones like Maggie Gallagher have quietly shifted their focus to "religious freedom" bills, which to be honest have less of a chance of success than the marriage bans do of staying intact, or to "bathroom bills," in essence picking on an even smaller minority.

  • 42. Dr. Z  |  April 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    That does appear to be true. The red states (and countries) seem to be doubling down.

  • 43. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    From the article:
    "[Stenger] pointed to the example of the fall of the Roman Empire. "When traditional values erode, that's when everything goes," he said.


    "But it would be much better, Stenger said, if there were enough straight couples to take in children who need new homes. "The alternative would be better, for the kids to be with hetereosexuals," he said."

    These are almost exactly the same arguments many bigots used before and after the SCOTUS decision in 'Loving'.

    IMO, Stenger, when he speaks about the Roman Empire, should leave those opinions to people who have actually studied history. Maybe he doesn't realize that the capital of the Roman Empire was moved to Constantinople soon after Constantine (supposedly) converted to Xianity. And the Roman Empire lived on until 1453 in the form of the Byzantine Empire, based in Constantinople. Stenger also probably doesn't know that the Haggia Sophia originally was a Xian place of worship, and was the largest cathedral in the world until the Seville Cathedral was built in 1520.

  • 44. Chill Pill  |  April 6, 2014 at 4:51 am

    If SCOTUS rules for Hobby Lobby, then we should challenge the tax exemptions given to churches, treat them like people too since many church leaders have become politically active in the pews and their national conferences. The Mormons, southern Baptist and televangelist leaders seem to be the worst. A Washington Times article about this weekend's Mormon conference gathering in SLC reports the church leader reiterated opposition to same sex marriage and he went on to say the Lord designated the purpose of marriage towards "advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured" – the words within the quotes sound like they were lifted out of legal briefs, not something out of the Bible or any other sacred texts I have read.

  • 45. Guest  |  April 6, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    I don't think taxing a church is a good idea because that would effectively embed religion in government. Instead, I would confront them. Christian zealots are genuine wimps. They rely on our complacency and silence so they can parade around and snatch away everyone's abortion rights, marriage rights, and other discriminatory things. It is at that instant, we're obligated to hurl the god-damn kitchen sink at them. They can't stand the heat. You'll see.

    Christianity is wildly shallow, and it's no match for our truth.

    I'm going to blast the Christianist wimps out of the city next year during their bigot gathering against abortion because we're right, and they're dead wrong.

  • 46. Rick O.  |  April 6, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Agreed most Christians referring to the "fall of the Roman Empire" have read zero history. First, what Roman values other than naked empire building and a limited form of republicanism which died out early, do they wish to defend? Slavery and fierce Xenophobia?
    Second, one can make a case that the legalization and rise of Christianity in Rome traces the decay of any remaining republican values. Of course 1453 was not the end, either. The Habsburgs continued the Holy Roman Empire til the 20th Century, and the Russian Tsars (one of whom married the niece of the last emperor in Constantinople) firmly believe they continued the true empire. Judging by current Russian behavior, I back their claim.

  • 47. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 7, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Actually, the Holy Roman Empire (it was not Holy and it was not Roman – Germanic is more like it) existed from about 900 AD, but was ended by Napoleon Bonaparte in late 1805 AD (Battle of Austerlitz).

    In early 1806 AD, the Habsburgs reorganized the government, with Francis II abdicating all titles (including Holy Roman Emperor) except Emperor of Austria, and Austria giving up much territory. In 1867 AD, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was created when the Empire of Austria and the Apostolic Kingdom of Hungary were joined in a constitutional union, the Empire headed by a Habsburg. That union lasted until 1918 AD.

    As to when republicanism died in Rome? Was it when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC; or in 47 BC when he was proclaimed dictator for 10 years; or was it in 27 BC when Caesar's adopted son, Augustus, was crowned as the first Roman Emperor? In any case, republicanism died in Rome several decades prior to when jebus strode in Jerusalem, spreading his particular brand of Judaism (which eventually morphed into Xianity), and several centuries prior to when the Roman Empire officially began tolerating Xianity (Edict of Milan [313 AD], which legalized Xian worship), let alone making it the 'religion of the state' (that was accomplished with the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 AD, more than 40 years after Constantine died [337 AD]).

  • 48. Jack  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Off topic…
    Backlash Against Brendan Eich Crossed A Line

  • 49. Jack  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Oh no! Someone downrated me! lol We have the gay mafia on here which is no different than radical right wingers.

  • 50. Dr. Z  |  April 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Some sympathetic straights like to pat themselves on the back about how progressive and enlightened they are for supporting gay rights. I don't wish to seem unappreciative for their support, but there's an implicit assumption here that equality for gay people is still optional. This is also part of the renorming process – that society is coming to terms with the notion that gay rights are, in fact, basic human rights and not privileges.

    Back in the 1960s something analogous happened after Selma and the passage of civil rights legislation. Some liberal white civil rights supporters were shocked that blacks were saying it's not enough to act as though society was doing them a "favor" for treating them equally ("But I don't understand, I've always been good to colored people!") That took another decade to work through.

    The (straight, duh) guy who wrote this piece is still clutching to the idea that gay rights are, in fact, merely a privilege awarded for good behavior and that if we gays don't behave ourselves, that privilege will be withdrawn. And he has absolutely no clue how patronizing that viewpoint is.

  • 51. Tyler O.  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    This post needs to be saved and archived because it speaks so much truth.

  • 52. Dr. Z  |  April 6, 2014 at 2:49 am

    It has been. It's called "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Do yourself a favor and see it. It was the last of the Spencer/Tracy films – the chemistry between those two is fantastic. T+H was a longtime semi-clandestine couple, since Tracy was married and Hollywood in that era frowned on divorce.

  • 53. Dr. Z  |  April 6, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Oops meant Tracy/Hepburn.

    Came out in 1967, and the topic is interracial marriage. In fact it's ripe for a remake about same-sex marriage.

  • 54. Dr. Z  |  April 6, 2014 at 3:25 am

  • 55. Rick O.  |  April 6, 2014 at 6:31 am

    There was a "fair and balanced" article in the Denver Post last week previewing the 10th Circuit Appeals hearings coming up, which managed to list a number of the anti-ME arguments without mentioning how the lower courts have rejected them. I am sure the average person will assume that once the laws change everybody should shut up and go home.
    Continued interaction between groups may be the only way prejudice dies out. For "races" it is increasingly intermarriage, which is quietly happening on a huge scale in the U.S. For LGBT, we are always going to be a tiny, less than 5% (?) minority, but have the advantage of being "distributed" (born into) every possible family and place (impact dependent on "coming out") Thinking of my own four very North European white, conservative grandparents, all born around 1900, they never would have imagined their not very prolific offspring in just 2 generations would include half a dozen gays and lesbians and intermarriage with an East Indian, a Latina, and and an African American.
    EVERYBODY came to dinner.

  • 56. Sagesse  |  April 6, 2014 at 7:37 am

    I've been conflicted over this debate all week. Full disclosure: sympathetic straight here.

    I believe Mozilla had a business decision to make. Brendan Eich and the outside voices on both sides were exercising their right to free speech and freedom of religion and freedom of conscience and right to boycott. All were sending a message. All are free to accept or disregard each others' messages, to act or not act as they choose.

    The vast majority of Fortune 500 companies (over 90% if I recall) have non-discrimination policies. Secular businesses (because the SC seems to be contemplating whether there are religious businesses) have decided this is the right business decision, for one of a number of reasons. Because they believe a culture of inclusivity is good for business, good for their employees, good for the consumer who can choose who to buy from. Because they operate in jurisdictions where it is illegal to discriminate, and jurisdictions where it is not, and it is not fair to treat employees or the general public differently depending on where they live. They have adopted a corporate ENDA, just as some states and the federal government as an employer have.

    It has become publicly known that Brendan Eich, in his personal capacity, supports discrimination, and has gone so far as to reach into his pocket to support Prop 8 to the tune of $1,000. Given the opportunity to step back from those views in a blog post and an interview, he used conventional PR misdirection – he stonewalled, he answered a different question. Officially he mimiced every government official who has said they will 'enforce but not defend' a law (corporate policy) because they don't believe it is right. Eich's views must still be very important to him personally for him to react that way. Or he's willing to go down with the ship to defend his first amendment rights.

    Mozilla cannot have a leader who does not support the company's corporate values, and everyone knows he doesn't. But those business values, very commonly and very widely held among American businesses, are a business decision. Mozilla's corporate culture is inclusive, and welcoming and, beyond tolerating, it is accepting of diversity. Mozilla cannot afford to have employees and customers made uncomfortable because they suspect its CEO may not be working in their best interests within the company, no matter what the company's culture and policies say.

  • 57. Lee  |  April 6, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Good statement: “I think the backlash against Eich and boycott of Mozilla were misguided and completely unwarranted. There is a case to be made for calling it intolerance when a coordinated campaign is mounted against an entire company because a group of people disagrees with the personal beliefs of one employee. Turn that scenario around for a second. What if a conservative organization mounted a campaign to boycott an entire company because the CEO is gay? I’m fairly sure most of those who took up torches and pitch forks against Mozilla would find such behavior inexcusable, bordering on criminal. … Brendan Eich and Mozilla are two separate things, though. It makes no sense to choose the companies you do business with—or don’t do business with as the case may be—based on the personal beliefs and ideologies of individual employees. It’s unlikely that Eich’s personal political, religious, or philosophical identity would have any impact on Mozilla as a company, and without the public campaign to oust him most people would have continued happily using Firefox without knowing or caring what Eich thought about Proposition 8.”

  • 58. Dr. Z  |  April 6, 2014 at 8:08 am

    In the first place, it wasn't a coordinated campaign. It was Mozilla developers and employees who objected to having someone at the helm who was so out of step with the company's values.

    In the second place, the CEO isn't just any employee.

    In the third place, giving $1000 to Prop 8 (an act of public speech that inflicted irreparable harm on gay couples) isn't equivalent to a gay CEO. The fact that the CEO is gay harms no one. He has committed no act other than to exist as a gay individual.

  • 59. StraightDave  |  April 6, 2014 at 8:33 am

    @Lee. You have got to be kidding! You're trying to equate BEING gay, an inherently harmless fact of life, with taking tangible steps to deliberately harm other innocent people?

    You obviously haven't thought about what you are saying, or what it means. Nor have quite a few other people saying very similar things.

    And, by the way, this is not about personal beliefs. This is about harmful actions. Whole different universe, pal.

  • 60. bayareajohn  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Lee or whoever we have this time,
    You actually ask for an example of a gay being drummed out of office? Have you ever heard of DON'T ASK DON'T TELL or countless religious organizations that have humiliated competent gay leaders? How about the BOY SCOUTS? Perfect on-target examples of corporate philosophy at odds with an individual's personal orientation, with the predictable inevitable breakup. You simply have no idea of what you are even saying.

  • 61. bayareajohn  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    If you don't see the parallels to the recent WORLD VISION flap where they caved to right-wing pressure to drop their decision to allow same-sex coupled employees…. you simply don't want to understand.

  • 62. Michael  |  April 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    "Conservative" organizations did mount a campaign against an entire company. Many times. The latest being when they threw starving children under the bus in order to stop World Vision and its employees from exercising their first amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion.

  • 63. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 7, 2014 at 1:12 am

    I have no problem with Eich giving money to a campaign (though an extremely misguided opinion and one which I disagree with). After all, according to SCOTUS, his money gives him speech rights (another extremely misguided opinion and one which I disagree with).

    I DO have a problem when Eich, given multiple opportunities, uses his CEO status to deflect, divert, obfuscate, not respond to, etc., direct questions about his current opinion on equality issues, then resigns (but the CONservatives say he was fired). In defending Eich, the CONservatives are also trying to defect, divert, obfuscate, not respond to, and are out and out lying about the issue.

    The CEO, as the head of a company, has as much, or more, 'speech' power as the rest of the company combined, no matter how large or small the company. Think of Henry Ford. Think of 'the Donald'. Think of Steve Jobs. Think of Bill Gates.

  • 64. Guest  |  April 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Whose line? Not mine! Do you think we're scared?

  • 65. Cherylg43  |  April 6, 2014 at 11:44 am

    @Dr Z and StraightDave, thanks! You've nailed it! You clearly cut the long-winded obfuscation.

    Now look at Brian Brown's contribution to the discussion.
    Does anyone else find the following hilariously, hopelessly incongruent?

    I see Brian grabbing for life rafts — floundering, sputtering, sinking…. In plain sight.

  • 66. bayareajohn  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    The old "these degenerates that we spit on are getting uppity again" routine…

  • 67. Sagesse  |  April 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    NOM is spinning this as 'the liberal gay activists cost a man his livelihood', when in fact Eich resigned. According to this piece in the New York Times, however, Mozilla tried to keep him with the company, presumably in his prior role as CTO, but he would not stay. That part is unfortunate. Evidently, three directors resigned over his appointment (before it was announced) because they did not support it. His support of Prop 8 was a factor in the Board's deliberations.

    Personality and Change Inflamed Mozilla Crisis

  • 68. Rick O.  |  April 7, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Speaking as a company director, I'll add perhaps a different perspective. Lee is right to say employees should have great leeway in their freedom of beliefs in this country. He is wrong in thinking that a CEO is just another employee. Far from it.
    The CEO is the public face of a corporation, in charge of developing and implementing policies approved by the board. He/she is the leader, and that leadership MUST be thorough and consistent. The larger the company, the more the job entails articulating goals and principles, with correspondingly less time on discrete operational tasks. Ideas matter, just as they do in the government world, and the difference between "an employee" and a CEO can be likened to the difference between a member of the civil service vs. a cabinet secretary (note the latter is a POLITICAL appointee).
    Two points leap out at me. First, 3 boards member resigned over Eich's appointment, presumably because they viewed it as a contradiction of corporate non-discrimination policy (which policy the rest of the board didn't have the balls to either support or change). I would hesitate to buy stock in a company with such a board split and confusion over their role.
    Second, Eich (perhaps to his ideological credit) did not apologize, say he has changed his mind, or attempt to explain the marriage equality issue is not one of discrimination. He might make a great Chief Technical Officer, I'm sure, but I don't think he would be at all happy or effective as a CEO.
    It was just as appropriate to question Eich's Prop 8 donation as it would be to question a 1970's CEO's donations to George Wallace. What bothers me more was that the majority of the Mozillo directors obviously thought their non-discrimination policy is so much corporate fluff.

  • 69. Equality On TrialSixth Ci&hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 2:30 am

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