On Monday, Arizona’s Legislature passed a bill that would let businesses refuse service to gays and lesbians. Governor Jan Brewer has until Friday to sign or veto the bill. Unsurprisingly, this bill has generated a huge storm of controversy. Not even everyone who voted for the bill still supports it, as after hearing the outcry against it, three state senators who voted for it are now urging Brewer to veto the bill. This bill has also attracted the ire of several large businesses that do business in Arizona, most notably Apple.
According to NBC, Apple has sent a letter and made a phone call to Brewer urging her to veto the bill. (According to CNNMoney, CEO Tim Cook did not make the call.) American Airlines and Marriott Hotels took similar actions.
Apple has a fairly large stake in the outcome. It has five stores in Arizona, and probably more importantly, it recently announced that it is building a sapphire glass plant in Mesa, Arizona. The new plant may eventually add 2,000 new jobs in Arizona.
Apple has recently been pushing strongly for gay rights. Last November, Cook argued for passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Then in December, Cook gave a passionate speech for passage of the Act at his alma mater, Auburn University. He also wrote in a memo to Apple employees in December that “we’ve urged the U.S. Congress to support workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”