Among the biggest differences between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook as leaders of Apple is Cook’s willingness to use his platform as CEO to push positive social change.
Having last week shamed Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” bill — which potentially allows a business to deny service to would-be customers if they disagree with their sexual orientation, based on religious beliefs — Cook elaborated on his thoughts in a weekend editorial for the Washington Post.
Proclaiming that “Apple is open … to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love,” Cook makes a powerful case. Check out his thoughts below.
“There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country.
A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.
Others are more transparent in their effort to discriminate. Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ marriage ban later this year. In total, there are nearly 100 bills designed to enshrine discrimination in state law.
These bills 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.”
Cook goes on to argue that discrimination is bad for business. Apple recently put its weight behind this idea, along with close to 400 other companies, by telling the U.S. Supreme Court that the confusing array of laws about gay marriage “places significant burdens on employers and their employees — making it increasingly hard to conduct business.”
“From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms,” Cook writes in his Washington Post editorial.
Cook also talks about his upbringing in the South during the 1960s and ’70s, writing that, “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.”
Cook’s public stance on gay rights is not new. Having come out last year, Cook’s outspokenness about the fact that people should have the right to “love who they choose” has even resulted in an LGBT anti-discrimination bill being named after him.
Let’s hope his words continue to be listened to. Driving iPhone sales to new all-time highs might make Wall Street happy, but his belief that Apple should be a “force for good” might turn out to be Cook’s lasting legacy as CEO.
Source: Washington Post