Apple boss Cook slams US religious pro-discrimination laws

Tim Cook has criticised the introduction of legislation is some US states that allows people to discriminate based on their religious beliefs.

A number of states, including Indiana and Arkansas, have passed laws allowing individuals to cite their religious conviction as justification for a number of behaviours, including the right to refuse to serve customers.

These bills rationalise injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear,” the Apple boss wrote in The Washington Post. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.

America’s business community recognised a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges.

Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.

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.”

In 2013 the Bristol County Court in the UK ruled against Cornish B&B owners Hazelmary and Peter Bull when they attempted to cite religious belief to defend their refusal to let a gay couple stay in one of their rooms. They argued that sex outside marriage was a sin.

Tim Cook releasedan open statement about his sexuality last October in the hope that doing so would help oppose employment laws in some states that maintain the right to fire homosexual workers.

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