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Apple’s Tim Cook Says Pro-Discrimination “Religious Freedom” Laws Like Indiana’s Are Dangerous

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Our country’s constitution guarantees its citizens the right to freely practice their religion so that we may all avoid discrimination. That’s what’s so troubling about Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation in Indiana and elsewhere that opens the door for people to use their religion as a reason to discriminate, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, like many others, is concerned.

In an Op Ed for the Washington Post, Cook described the law as “dangerous,” saying,

A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.

While laws that could potentially make such actions legal have been on the books for some time in several states and even federally, Indiana’s is part of a new wave of additions and changes that broaden the laws in scope and could result in legal protection of discrimination—most likely against LGBTQ+ people. Cook, as the first openly gay Fortune 500 CEO, is understandably concerned about the recent developments.

And then there are even worse cases, as Cook continued,

Others are more transparent in their effort to discriminate. Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples—even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ marriage ban later this year. In total, there are nearly 100 bills designed to enshrine discrimination in state law.

These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.

Make no mistake: You absolutely have the right to freely exercise your religion as granted in the United States Constitution, but that right only extends as far as it doesn’t interfere with the rights of others to be treated equally and fairly as human beings. Laws like those in Indiana, Texas, and elsewhere that seek to change that delicate balance are dangerous, because they confused freedom from discrimination with freedom to discriminate, and we need to stand up against it as Cook says, “Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.”

(via Washington Post, image via Markus Spiering)

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