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Tim Cook: Apple Will Oppose Bills Like Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' Law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, sparking an outcry from those who say it could be used to discriminate.
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/ Source: NBC News

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook on Sunday broadened his criticism of a new law in Indiana, which opponents say could be used to discriminate against gay people, to other states that he says have similar laws.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday, sparking an outcry from those, including Cook, who say it could be used to protect businesses that refuse to serve gay people. The law's supporters say it will prevent the government from forcing business owners from providing services that go against their religious beliefs.

"These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear," Cook wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, referring not only to Indiana's law, which goes into effect in July, but also to those of "more than two dozen states."

Cook said the laws will have a negative impact on the economy and job growth, adding: "On behalf of Apple, I'm standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges." Cook didn't elaborate on what specific actions the multimillion-dollar company would take, but he said he hoped "many more will join this movement."

"This isn't a political issue. It isn't a religious issue," wrote Cook, who announced publicly that he is gay last year. "This is about how we treat each other as human beings."

In an interview on ABC's "This Week," Pence said the backlash was fed by "shameless rhetoric" and "a tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding" about the law."



— Elisha Fieldstadt