Our View: Wolf on Eich

Posted: April 8, 2014

Widely hailed, and justifiably so, for his defense of human rights the world over, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th, rose in the well of Congress on Monday to affirm constitutional protections he fears are being compromised in America. We have learned to expect nothing less of Mr. Wolf.

He was, of course, referencing the recent forced departure of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla Corp. Mr. Eich left the high-tech firm he co-founded after his monetary support of California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative to ban same-sex marriage, came to light.

“Regardless of your views on marriage,” Mr. Wolf said, “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. I want to stress, his personal beliefs. Not his company’s. His own.”

Noting that the twinned freedoms — of speech and religion — enshrined in the First Amendment reside “at the heart of America’s greatness,” Mr. Wolf went on to say that “as troubling as this particular incident is, the chilling effect it will have on broader issues . . . cannot be overstated.”

Throughout its history, America, Mr. Wolf added, has resisted “mob rule.” In fact, “robust debate in the public square” has been a national “hallmark.” But the hounding of Mr. Eich, by all accounts an exemplary corporate citizen, raises an ugly specter.

“(W)hat happened last week was not debate,” he concluded. “It was the stifling of debate. It was the silencing of dissent.”

Mr. Wolf laments, even fears, the “implications” of this sordid episode. So do we.