Mr. Eich also was revealed to fund the 1992 campaign of “far-right extremist” Patrick J. Buchanan and a recent campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, Mr. Signorile noted in The Huffington Post.
The nation’s biggest gay-rights groups also defended Mozilla. The Human Rights Campaign spokesman called the resignation “entirely a measure of our success as a movement.”
“I don’t believe this is a question of suppressing free speech,” said Fred Sainz, the Human Rights Campaign’s vice president for communications. “It’s a question of the market regulating itself.”
Leslie Gabel-Brett, director of education and public affairs at Lambda Legal, wrote in The New York Times on Friday that to call Mr. Eich a victim of discrimination “flips the idea of victimization on its head.”
“Eich is being held accountable for having freely donated his money to a campaign to strip lesbian and gay people of legal rights,” she wrote. “Eich expressed his views. Employees and others expressed their anger. And the board decided he was bad for business.”
“Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and chief executive of GLAAD.
Mr. Sullivan didn’t back down: “It’s staggering to me that a minority long persecuted for holding unpopular views can now turn around and persecute others for the exact same reason,” he wrote Friday.
“When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is the definition of intolerance,” he added.
A minority of commenters at the more radical gay blogs defended Mr. Sullivan.
“Hounding a guy out of his job is a terrible thing. I have read all the arguments, but we could be setting a bad precedent here,” “daveinsf” wrote on Joe.My.God.
“Lefty Coaster” on DailyKos also came out in support of Mr. Sullivan, as did a few commenters such as “Jonathan B,” who worried about the media “painting us “as bullies, and “scaring people as to how we will treat them if we win in their state.”
Even OkCupid co-founder Sam Yagun expressed some trepidation by telling reporters Friday that “there was no interest in creating an Internet lynch mob” and saying his company never demanded that Mr. Eich resign.
“I am opposed to that with every bone in my body,” he said.