The CEO of Mozilla has stepped down, after his donations to anti-gay marriage campaigns sparked anger online.

It was announced today that Brandon Eich had stood aside, after a boycott of Firefox from the gay community and the resignation of three of the company’s directors, after it emerged he had donated $1000 (£600) to ban equal marriage in California in 2008.

His decision to step down is surprising, given he reaffirmed yesterday his desire to stay on as CEO.

Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Executive Chairwoman, said in a statement: “Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

“Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

“While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.

“We need to put our focus back on protecting that Web. And doing so in a way that will make you proud to support Mozilla.

“What’s next for Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed. We want to be open about where we are in deciding the future of the organization and will have more information next week.”