Apple has thrown its support behind the Equality Act that is today being introduced in the United States Congress.
If passed, the historic act would establish full federal equality for all LGBT Americans and give them protection from discrimination under law.
The consumer tech giant declared its support for the act through the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a civil rights organisation working for LGBT equality. “At Apple we believe in equal treatment for everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love,” read a statement released by the company. “We fully support the expansion of legal protections as a matter of basic human dignity.”
The Equality Act would establish important protections against the discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in matters of employment, housing, education and other rights. In addition, it would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federal funding and access to public places. According to HRC, 31 states still lack clear non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook publicly announced he was gay last October by penning an open letter that addressed the discrimination he has faced. “It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry,” he wrote. “It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.” Cook later allowed his name to be added to Alabama legislation that bars discrimination against state employees on the basis of their sexual orientation.
The Dow Chemical Company and Levi Strauss & Co have also announced their support for the Act. Like Apple, both companies have previously scored a perfect 100 on HRC’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a barometer of LGBT inclusion in the workplace, and were recognised on HRC’s list of Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality in 2015.