Laws like the recently passed Indiana one allowing businesses to refuse gay customers on the grounds of religious freedom are bad for business and bad for America, Tim Cook warns. In a Washington Post op-ed, the Apple CEO says a "very dangerous" wave of legislation in more than two dozen states goes "against the very principles our nation was founded on," and allows injustice by "pretending to defend something many of us hold dear." Discrimination "moves in the shadows. And sometimes it shrouds itself within the very laws meant to protect us," he writes, recalling his experiences growing up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s, and warning that the bills could "hurt jobs, growth, and the economic vibrancy" in parts of America that once welcomed a "21st-century economy."
Cook says religion should never be an excuse to discriminate, and Apple is 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." This isn't "a political issue. It isn't a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings," he writes, encouraging others to join Apple in taking a stand. Several other tech CEOs have recently condemned the wave of laws, including Salesforce chief Marc Benioff, who says he will cancel all programs that require employees or customers to "travel to Indiana to face discrimination," Business Insider reports. (Read more Tim Cook stories.)