Apple's Tim Cook, one of the most prominent openly gay American CEOs, is among several tech industry chiefs to decry an Indiana law that opponents say could allow companies to deny services to gay people. Cook, who publicly declared his sexual orientation last year, joined other tech chief executives, including Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff, in blasting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could let business and individuals turn away customers by citing "religious freedom." Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial bill into law on Thursday. In a set of tweets, Cook voiced his displeasure with the law:
Legal experts say the act sets a legal standard that will allow people of all faiths to bring religious freedom claims, but opinions differ over its impact. Supporters of the bill, which was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of the Republican-controlled state legislature, say it will keep the government from forcing business owners to act against strongly held religious beliefs. Opponents say it is discriminatory and broader than other state religious freedom laws.
Other tech execs have also spoken out against the bill. Benioff said on Twitter that his San Francisco-based company would cancel programs that require travel to Indiana. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote an open letter criticizing discrimination laws, as did CA Technologies CEO Michael Gregoire.