Tim Cook: Apple won’t tolerate dangerous laws which allow anti-LGBT discrimination

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has written an editorial calling Indiana’s bill to protect “religious freedom”, which allows LGBT people to be discriminate against, “very dangerous”.

Governor Mike Pence signed the bill into law this week. 

The bill allows organisations, including businesses and churches, to refuse service to anyone on religious grounds, and is seen as a way for businesses to refuse service to LGBT clients. Nineteen other states have similar laws, and many others have proposals making their way through the legislature.

Cook, writing for the Washington Post, said the bill, and others in Arkansas and Texas, and dozens more, said they “rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear.

“They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality,” he writes.

He writes that he, on behalf of Apple, will stand up to oppose the “wave of legislation – wherever it emerges.”

“I have great reverence for religious freedom. As a child, I was baptized in a Baptist church, and faith has always been an important part of my life. I was never taught, nor do I believe, that religion should be used as an excuse to discriminate.”

“I remember what it was like to grow up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s. Discrimination isn’t something that’s easy to oppose. It doesn’t always stare you in the face. It moves in the shadows. And sometimes it shrouds itself within the very laws meant to protect us.”

Going on, Cook describes Apple as “open to everyone”, and says “we will never tolerate discrimination”.

He concludes: “Men and women have fought and died fighting to protect our country’s founding principles of freedom and equality. We owe it to them, to each other and to our future to continue to fight with our words and our actions to make sure we protect those ideals. The days of segregation and discrimination marked by “Whites Only” signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past. We must never return to any semblance of that time. America must be a land of opportunity for everyone.

“This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.”

Cook, and Apple are not the first tech company to come out against these laws.

After the bill was signed last week, Marc Benioff, $4 billion (£2.6 billion) Salesforce’s 50-year old CEO, founder, and chairman responded on Twitter, saying the corporation would stop sending employees to Indiana, would reduce its investment in the state and called for others to do the same.

Singer Miley Cyrus added a photo of the Governor to Instagram with the message: “You’re an a-hole”, and encouraged others to do the same.