Apple CEO Condemns ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has criticized laws similar to Indiana’s new law which he said would enable businesses to discriminate against homosexuals and transgenders in the name of “religious freedom.” Claiming the legislation as “something hazardous” going on in the states across the country, Cook stated that such laws tend to justify injustice and could potentially undo years of progress made so far toward greater equality, according to The Washington Post.

Apple won’t tolerate discrimination

Last week, Indiana’s governor signed a bill stating that any action by state or local government may not “substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion.” Some critics believe that this will end up in businesses disfavoring the lesbian, gay and transgender community. Since then, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has been working with state legislators to make the intent of the law clearer.

As a matter of fact, 19 other states have pending legislation on the same sort of law. Tim Cook, in an op-ed published by The Washington Post, noted that there are more than 100 bills being considered by legislators in half of the country.

Further, in his op-ed, Cook mentioned North Carolina and Nevada where the iPhone maker has invested billions of dollars and built colossal data centers and Texas, where Apple has agreed to build a $300 million campus. Though Cook did not indicate anything hampering these efforts, he claimed that neither he nor Apple will tolerate discrimination.

Tech firms uniting against discrimination

In response to the Indiana bill, the tech community has already begun to choose sides as companies like Salesforce and Yelp are calling off investment plans in the state. In addition, Angie’s List, a business review site, looks to cancel its expansion plans worth $40 million in Indiana, which is expected to affect at least 1,000 jobs, says a report by CNET.

This move by companies including Apple reflects an increasing trend among tech companies to voice their opinions regarding social issues, which the industry largely avoided until 2012 when a number of sites across the internet protested a law concerning regulation of the Web.

Last October, Cook went public with his sexual orientation when he posted, “So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay,” in a Bloomberg Businessweek editorial. He also gave a speech in Alabama in which he criticized his home state for not providing equal rights to the gay community.

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