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Tech CEOs Band Together Against Anti-LGBT Indiana Laws

 

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Tech giant Apple Inc’s CEO Tim Cook, one of the most prominent openly gay CEOs in America, has joined fellow tech industry executives in commenting on the controversial Indiana law that opponents say could allow companies to deny services to gay individuals.

 

Cook, who publicly declared his sexual orientation in an announcement last year, joined others like Salesforce.com Inc’s Marc Benioff, in blasting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could let business and individuals turn away customers by hiding behind “religious freedom.”

 

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial bill into law on Thursday.

 

“Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law,” Cook tweeted on Friday to his 1 million followers. “Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same – regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love.”

 

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, 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. Gay rights activists worry it will be used by businesses that do not want to provide services for same-sex weddings. Gay marriage became legal in Indiana in 2014, following an appeals court ruling.

 

Benioff also tweeted that his San Francisco-based company would cancel programs that require travel to Indiana. And Yelp Inc CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote an open letter criticizing discrimination laws.