Apple CEO Tim Cook pens op-ed blasting Indiana’s ‘anti-gay’ law

30 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple CEO Tim Cook Warns Of Discriminatory Laws Sweeping U.S..

Apple CEO Tim Cook called legislation like Indiana’s controversial religious freedom bill dangerous to commerce, civil rights and the country as a whole.

Apple boss Tim Cook has written an op-ed decrying what he called discriminatory legislation proposed in more than 20 states, following a controversial law signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence that appears to allows the state’s business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples. “America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” Cook wrote in the Washington Post. Cook, one of the most prominent voices opposing the measure, said he was speaking out against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act on behalf of Apple, he announced late Sunday. “There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country,” Cook, who is openly gay, wrote in a Washington Post guest column. “These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear.” In his opinion piece, Cook also recalled the religion of his youth: he was baptized in a Baptist church in the South, where discrimination moved with the “shadows” of seemingly protective laws like segregation. “They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality,” Cook added. Such laws have been passed in 20 US states, most recently Indiana, and are widely seen to be specifically aimed at enabling discrimination against LGBT people. Cook argues that leading companies like Apple must oppose the growing trend of such legislation in places like North Carolina and Nevada, as the laws will ultimately hamper job growth and economic prosperity. Mike Pence has heralded repeated quips by the governor that Senate Bill 101 has nothing to do with discrimination against the state’s LGBT community.

It prohibits the government from interfering with a person’s religious beliefs, a defense that could lead to a barrage of business owners denying services to gay people on religious grounds. Same-sex marriage is now recognized in 37 states after the US Supreme Court in 2013 ruled that federal law could not discriminate against wedded lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples.

Pence signed the bill into law Thursday, prompting harsh criticism from the NCAA, Yelp, SalesForce and hundreds of protesters who marched outside the capitol building on Saturday. Review group Angie’s List is another major force behind the state’s boycott with its chief executive officer, Bill Oesterle, putting a stop to a $40 million expansion at its Indiana headquarters because of Pence’s actions. Shortly after becoming leader, Cook instituted the company’s first charitable gift-matching programme (Famously, Steve Jobs, the company’s co-founder and chief executive from 1996 until his death in 2011, had given the company’s charitable efforts a low priority), while the company launched an advert supporting Pride last July. In a Bloomberg Businessweek article, in which he discussed his sexuality for the first time, Cook expressed his pride at Apple’s record. “We’ve taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California. And we spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community,” a similar bill to the one recently passed in Indiana.

Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.” “This isn’t a political issue,” he concluded. “It isn’t a religious issue.

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