In an op-ed published by The Washington Post, Tim Cook recently spoke out against religious freedom laws currently being introduced in several states across the country. The Apple chief executive criticized the role these laws could play in the wide-spread discrimination against the LGBT community. In particular, he cited concerns about the new religious freedom law passed in Indiana that would allow people to “cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.”
After it takes effect on July 1, Indiana’s religious freedom law will prohibit other state laws that could “substantially burden” a person’s ability to exercise his or her religious beliefs. Ideally, the law is meant to prevent government intervention and allow individuals, institutions, businesses, and other associations the freedom to express and exercise their religious beliefs. However, several Indiana-based companies and businesses are echoing Tim Cook’s opinion about the law’s possible discriminatory nature.
The backlash against Indiana’s religious freedom law has been swift. USA Today reported that business leaders in Indiana are most concerned about how the law could impede their ability to recruit fresh talent because job seekers might fear discrimination. Several corporate leaders from Indiana’s top companies also released a one-page opposition of the law addressed to Governor Mike Pence and state legislative leaders.
In response, Gov. Pence has assured the public that he is actively working with legislators to clarify and make amends to the law. As he told The Indianapolis Star, “I support religious liberty, and I support this law… But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.”