brendan-eich-mozillaBrendan Eich has stepped down as chief executive of the Mozilla Corporation, a for-profit company owned by the Mozilla Foundation nonprofit. The move comes in response to controversy over his financial support of Proposition 8, legislation that prevents California from recognizing same-sex marriages. He has also stepped down from the foundation’s board, despite repeated claims that he had no plans to leave either position and that his personal beliefs wouldn’t affect his ability to lead.

The announcement follows a barrage of outrage from Firefox users, Mozilla employees, and even OKCupid, which displayed a message telling Firefox users it would prefer they use a different browser to access its service. Mozilla previously released a statement saying that Eich’s beliefs don’t align with its own and that the company’s support for equality isn’t restricted to the Web. It added, “No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally.”

Eich’s replacement has not yet been found, but Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker tells Re/code that the group had talks with other candidates before Eich’s hiring, so the search isn’t expected to take long.

In the blog post announcing his resignation, Baker apologized for Mozilla’s lack of responsiveness regarding Eich’s hiring. “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves,” she said. “We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.” She added that Mozilla will share more about its plans next week.

Eich previously defended his appointment as Mozilla’s chief executive, writing on his blog:

Many Mozillians and others know me as a colleague or a friend. They know that I take people as they come and work with anyone willing to contribute. At the same time, I don’t ask for trust free of context, or without a solid structure to support accountability. No leader or person who has a privileged position should. I want to be held accountable for what I do as CEO. I fully expect you all to do so.

I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion.

Eich has not yet commented on his resignation on his personal site, Mozilla’s blog, or Twitter.

[image via wikimedia]