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Apple throws support behind Houston equal rights initiative

Apple CEO Tim Cook has on multiple occasions spoken out against discrimination.

Apple on Friday issued a statement in support of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, also known as Proposition 1 or HERO, a ballot item that seeks to end multiple forms of discrimination in the Texas city.

Houston Unites, a group working to garner support for HERO, supplied the Houston Business Journal with Apple's statement. The campaign partnered with the Human Rights Campaign to hold a press conference earlier today.

Apple is proud to be a part of Houston with four stores that employ over 500 people. Our stores and our company are open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Apple supports Proposition 1 as it sends a clear message that Houston is focused on a future of inclusion, diversity and continued prosperity.

Also in attendance at the event was actress Sally Field, while political heavyweights like President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton offered statements in support.

Those in support of HERO say the ordinance protects against employment, housing and other forms of discrimination based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or pregnancy. Detractors, however, claim the initiative offers special privileges to two specific groups that do not qualify as "true" minorities.

Apple has been vocal proponent of equal rights causes, recently using its clout to foster corporate and public policy change. CEO Tim Cook, who came out publicly last year, is especially interested in human rights issues and has on many occasions noted the need for equality in business, government and beyond. The HRC awarded Cook its Visibility Award earlier this month for contributions to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.