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Apple CEO Tim Cook shows support for pending U.S. nondiscrimination act

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on Sunday, Apple chief Tim Cook expounded on the merits of equality in the workplace and urged U.S. senators to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which is once again up for vote on Monday.

Cook was short and to the point in his commentary, describing how Apple, one of the largest and arguably most creative tech forces in the world, deals with nondiscrimination in the workplace.

As we see it, 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.

Pointedly, he noted that Apple's own corporate policy offers more protection than that of the U.S. government, as the company does not discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. Proponents of ENDA are looking to make the same protections available nationwide.

ENDA, which has close ties to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, targets discrimination in hiring and employment based on gender identity or sexual orientation. President Barack Obama has made clear that he supports the bill and in a Sunday Huffington Post entry, promised to sign the act into law once Congress passes it.

The Senate is scheduled to hold a cloture vote on ENDA this Monday night. Passage of the bill could come down to one senator as the number of sitting Democrats and those Republicans who pledged support currently stands at 59, just one vote shy of the 60 needed to defeat a likely Republican filibuster. The last time ENDA was up for Senate vote in 1996, it was defeated 49-50.

If ENDA does make it past the Senate, it will land in the House of Representatives. At that point, there is even less of a guarantee of success, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may not bring the legislation up for vote in the Republican-controlled chambers.