One of Silicon Valley’s biggest names is urging Congress support legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.
In an open letter to the Wall Street Journal on Sunday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook pressed Congress pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill supporters say would expand workplace protections for gay, lesbian and transgendered Americans.
He said that discriminating against people’s sexual orientation suppresses their ability to think outside of the box, thus curbing innovation.
Cook wrote that “embracing people’s individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights. It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. We’ve found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives.”
He argued that if ENDA did not pass, all Americans would suffer.
“Those who have suffered discrimination have paid the greatest price for this lack of legal protection. But ultimately we all pay a price,” he said. Cook added, “If our coworkers cannot be themselves in the workplace, they certainly cannot be their best selves. When that happens, we undermine people’s potential and deny ourselves and our society the full benefits of those individuals’ talents.”
ENDA is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, but it faces hurdles in the Republican-controlled House.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition wrote a letter to senators arguing that the passage of ENDA would be harmful to the American people.
The letter said, “ENDA is simply not sound public policy. … It will burden family-owned businesses with unnecessary and costly litigation, compliance costs, and risk avoidance through litigation mitigation that will divert resources from creating jobs.”
The conservative group added, “This bill opens a Pandora’s box of assaults on religious freedom, litigation, and compliance costs for businesses and nonprofits that will be a nightmare.”
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