Three members of the Mozilla board of directors stood down this weekend following the appointment the company’s new chief executive, Brendan Eich, who financially backed efforts to ban equal marriage in California.

Last week, several employees at Mozilla called for the resignation of Mr Eich after it was revealed he had donated $1,000 (£605) in 2008 to the campaign supporting California’s Proposition 8, whilst he was Mozilla’s chief technology officer.

Now, according to The Telegraph, John Lilly, Ellen Siminoff and Gary Kovacs have all stood down as members of the company’s board of directors.

A statement from Mozilla made to The Register said the members left for “a variety of reasons”, some of which were planned before the new chief executive’s appointment.

In a statement to PinkNews on Wednesday, a Mozilla spokesperson defended the appointment of Mr Eich, saying Mozilla “has always been deeply committed to honouring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community, across all the project’s activities.”

Mozilla refused to say whether it or Mr Eich supported equal marriage.

However, Mr Eich has since broken his silence, saying: “[It is] my personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalised in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult,” Mr Eich said.

“I know some will be sceptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. I can only ask for your support to have the time to ‘show, not tell’; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.”

He added: “You will see exemplary behaviour from me toward everyone in our community, no matter who they are; and the same toward all those whom we hope will join, and for those who use our products. Mozilla’s inclusive health benefits policies will not regress in any way. And I will not tolerate behaviour among community members that violates our Community Participation Guidelines or (for employees) our inclusive and non-discriminatory employment policies.”