Tim Cook: 'Religious Freedom' laws are pro-discrimination

Cook penned an editorial that appeared on the Washington Post Web site in which he called such legislation "something very dangerous" happening in states across the country.

Critics of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other similar bills and laws say that they make it easier for businesses to discriminate against gays, lesbians, transgender and others. Supporters of the Indiana law, which goes into effect in July, say that it protects individuals' religious liberty.

Cook says such bills are "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.

Cook acknowledged that he is gay in an editorial posted by Bloomberg last fall. He said faith is important to him, but was never taught that "religion should be used as an excuse to discriminate."

I remember what it was like to grow up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s. Discrimination isn't something that's easy to oppose. It doesn't always stare you in the face. It moves in the shadows. And sometimes it shrouds itself within the very laws meant to protect us.

Cook added that "Apple is open" to everyone, regardless of laws passed in states like Indiana.

This isn't a political issue. It isn't a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. 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.