Cook Blasts ‘Dangerous’ Anti-LGBT Bills

30 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple CEO Tim Cook slams Indiana religious freedom law.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is speaking out against a slew of laws being introduced in states across the country, which Cook says are designed to “enshrine discrimination in state law.” Cook expressed these views in a lengthy op-ed in The Washington Post Sunday night, following the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana last week. Cook said there are nearly 100 current proposals that “rationalize injustice” and “go against the very principles our nation was founded on.” “It is found and determined by the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas that there is not a higher protection offered by the state than the protection of a person’s right to religious freedom,” the legislation said. “And that this act is immediately necessary,” it continued, “because every day that a person’s right to religious freedom is threatened is a day that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is compromised.” “This legislation cloaks discrimination in the guise of religion—and it will mark people of color, LGBT Arkansans, religious minorities, and women as second-class citizens,” American civil rights leader Dr. Chief Executive Tim Cook toughed his criticism of Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law, calling it “very dangerous” and said Apple would opposite such legislation wherever it emerges.

The bills, like the one enacted last week in Indiana, create a legal framework for individuals, mostly business owners, to claim that a law or regulation mandated by the government infringes on their religious beliefs. While Indiana’s law has drawn the most attention, it is but one of many similar bills that have been proposed recently, all of which seek to prioritize some people’s religious freedoms over other people’s civil liberties. The opinion was published in a Washington Post editorial on Sunday, in which Cook’s immediate target was the new wave of laws sweeping several states up in a religious frenzy that is dangerous or disrespectful to everyone living in those states. “A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors.

Another proposed bill in Texas, which Cook points out in his op-ed, would prohibit government workers from issuing same-sex marriage licenses or risk losing their salaries, pensions, and other benefits. Hutchinson has a duty and a moral obligation to veto this legislation or the ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy.” “Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love,” Cook said. “Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.” Similarly, Indiana’s S.B. 101 “prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion.” In a statement, Gov.

Cook, who came out publicly as gay last year, is the latest public figure to condemn the Indiana law and the 19 others like it around the country that protect religious freedom, but open the door for serious discrimination, particularly against LGBT people. “I was never taught, nor do I believe, that religion should be used as an excuse to discriminate,” he said. “I remember what it was like to grow up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s. Mike Pence said the measure “is not about discrimination,” but Pence was evasive during an appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos when asked questions about what the bill does and does not do or allow.

The Texas bill, which is still under consideration, would make it difficult for same-sex couples to get married even if the state strikes down its anti-gay marriage ban, the Dallas Morning News reported. In a letter he wrote then, Cook said, “there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation.

There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman also condemned the laws in a blog post, and warned other states considering similar legislation that “Yelp will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books.” Such strong opposition from the tech community doesn’t guarantee that states will back down from the wave of discriminatory legislation that’s washing over the country. Two months later, he made a sizeable donation to the Human Rights Campaign’s Project One American, which aims to expand LGBT equality in Cook’s home state of Alabama, as well as Arkansas and Mississippi. “This isn’t a political issue. And sometimes it shrouds itself within the very laws meant to protect us.” He also affirmed that Apple – a company that employs 60,000 people in the U.S. directly and takes credit for supporting more than a million jobs overall – will not tolerate discrimination. “Apple is open. Still, having some of the country’s leading companies threaten to abstain from doing business within those states is certainly a powerful bargaining chip.

However, current developments remind him too much of an America marked by ‘Whites Only’ signs that marked the doors of businesses just half a century ago. “We must never return to any semblance of that time. Mike Pence defended his signing of the bill on Sunday, saying it was “absolutely not” a mistake, but that he would support legislation that would “clarify” the law. State Democrats will take center stage at 10 a.m. to respond to calls for legislative action in response to the law, according to the Associated Press. Angie’s List announced they wouldn’t be expanding their Indiana campus – growth that would have added 1,000 jobs in the state – because of the law. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.” Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states, following a Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that excluded federal law from pursuing punishment for such unions.

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