Apple CEO Tim Cook to be namesake of Alabama anti-discrimination bill

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Following initial hesitation on the part of Apple, an Alabama state representative is moving forward with plans to name a proposed anti-discrimination bill after CEO Tim Cook after receiving full support from the company this week.

The only openly gay legislator in Alabama, state Representative Patricia Todd, is planning to attach Cook's name to a years-old bill introduced to ban discrimination against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) teachers and state employees, reports Reuters. Todd has brought the issue to the floor multiple times, and will do so again next March.

Todd said the idea was hatched after Cook, an Alabama native, was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor. During his acceptance speech, Cook called for action on rights for the LGBT community, likening his home state's slow progress to the country's long struggle with racial and gender equality.

Just three days later, in an essay published by Bloomberg, Cook publicly announced that he is "proud to be gay." Though he is open about his sexuality with close ones and friends, Cook said coming out publicly was a difficult decision.

Todd told reporters that she would put Cook's name on her anti-discrimination document when Alabama legislative sessions begin next year. After hearing word of Todd's plan, it seemed Apple was not completely on board, as a company representative reached out to express concern over the matter. Todd agreed to drop Cook's name, but was ultimately given the green light this week.

"Tim was honored to hear that State Rep. Todd wanted to name an antidiscrimination bill after him, and we're sorry if there was any miscommunication about it. We have a long history of support for LGBT rights and we hope every state will embrace workplace equality for all," Apple said in a prepared statement.

Local publication separately reported that Apple legal chief Bruce Sewell made the call himself.

"He apologized profusely and said there was an employee that was trying to protect Apple from controversy," Todd said. "He said 'I'm here to assure you we support this 100 percent."

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