Apple Wants Arizona Governer To Veto Gay Discrimination Bill

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Apple confirmed to CNBC late on Monday that it has asked Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto the controversial religious freedom bill SB1062.

Apple is the latest company to urge Brewers to veto the bill, which critics have suggested will allow companies to use religious belief as a basis for discriminating against the gay and lesbian community.

Apple is currently preparing to open its new sapphire glass manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona, which will create upwards of 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction.

Other companies who have been critical of bill SB1062 include hotel chains such as Marriott and American Airlines.

The NFL, which is slated to hold the Super Bowl in Arizona next year, has said it is keeping an eye on developments in the state, noting that:

“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.”

This is not the first time that Apple has stood up for gay rights and employee non-discrimination. While it has never been acknowledged in a public capacity, Tim Cook is believed to be gay — having previously topped Out magazine’s list of the top 50 “most influential gays and lesbians in America.” As a company he has stated that he wants Apple to be “a force for good.”

Last year Cook wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he argued in favor of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, designed to protect against sexual identity and gender discrimination in the workplace.

“As we see it, embracing people’s individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights,” Cook wrote in the article. “It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. We’ve found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives.”

  • djr12

    Calling this a “Gay Discrimination Bill” is begging the question, if not outright falsehood.

    The bill doesn’t mention homosexuality at all. Its purpose is to protect conscience rights of religious people so that they aren’t forced into doing things they consider counter to their religion. I suspect it would meet with quite a different response if the zeitgeist were focused these days on, say, vegetarian Buddhist restaurants being asked to provide meat-based meals.

    But why let reality get in the way of a good propaganda opportunity? For those who are interested in what this bill is really about, a neutral article from the press in Arizona can be found here:

    http://www.prescottenews.com/index.php/news/current-news/item/23134-sb1062-everything-you-wanted-to-know-but-didn-t-bother-to-ask

    I get that Tim Cook wants Apple to agitate for gay rights. But it saddens me that the gay marriage lobby seems to be of the opinion that their rights aren’t secured until everyone is forced by law to bow down before them. If someone won’t bake you a cake, here’s a thought: try another baker.

  • lucascott

    What’s most interesting are the comments that Apple has suggested that it’s not too late for them to move that factory out of Arizona, taking the jobs etc with them.
    Frankly I think they should, even on the idea that Arizona would back a bill like this.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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