Ex-Mozilla CEO wins support from unexpected liberal factions

Former Mozilla chief executive officer Brendan Eich is getting some unexpected support. He was forced to step down last week after gay rights supporters complained that Eich supported a California measure outlawing same-sex marriage.

Now, some prominent Hollywood names are coming to Eich's defense.

Eich's resignation on Thursday, rather than end the controversy, has seemed to only fan the flames, CBS News' Jan Crawford reported.

Over the weekend, comedian Bill Maher took issue with the way Eich was forced out of his job -- a sentiment now shared by a growing number of gay rights supporters.

On "Real Time with Bill Maher," Maher made only a quick joke, but coming from an outspoken social liberal like Bill Maher, it took many by surprise. Maher said, "I think there is a gay mafia. I think if you cross them, you do get whacked, I really do."

Conservatives, normally targets of Maher's barbs, found themselves in rare agreement.

Newt Gingrich said in an interview recently, "This is just the most open, blatant example of the New Fascism, which says if you don't agree with us 100 percent, we have the right to punish you."

Last week, Mozilla employees staged a revolt on Twitter, demanding Eich resign because of a $1,000 donation he made six years ago to support California's ban on same-sex marriage.

A handful of companies, led by dating website OKCupid, threatened boycotts.

On Thursday, Eich stepped down.

But some prominent gay rights supporters, such as writer Andrew Sullivan, expressed alarm.

Sullivan wroteon his widely-read blog: "If this is the gay rights movement today -- hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else -- then count me out."

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile was also troubled. She said, "We have to be very careful that we are not practicing a New McCarthyism."

Many see Eich's ouster as a sign of the growing influence of gay rights advocates. "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson was briefly suspended, and his show ratings plummeted, after he made disparaging remarks about gays and lesbians.

In March, the head of Chick-Fil-A admitted that his anti-gay stance alienated many customers.

A majority of Americans now back gay marriage -- a sharp change from 2008, when most did not, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But unlike Eich, both Clinton and Obama have become ardent supporters of same-sex marriage in the past few years.

Eich did not return CBS News' requests for an interview and Mozilla declined to comment for this story.

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