Sweet home Alabama? At a ceremony during which he was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, Apple CEO Tim Cook laid into his home state for its dubious civil rights record, as well as its continued inaction in expanding legal protections for citizens based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“As a state we took too long to take steps toward equality and once we began, our progress was too slow,” Cook said in a ceremony in the Alabama State Capitol. “Too slow on equality for African Americans. Too slow on interracial marriage, which was only legalized 14 years ago. And still too slow on equality for the LGBT community.”
Invoking the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cook said he had “long ago promised” never to “be silent” about his beliefs.
“Under the law citizens of Alabama can still be fired based on their sexual orientation. We can't change the past, but we can learn from it, and we can create a different future,” Cook said.
Cook, who grew up in Baldwin County, was honored alongside University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, University of Alabama President Judy Bonner, Big Oak Ranch founder John Croyle, biotech leader Jim Hudson Jr. of Huntsville, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, former Mountain Brook mayor Margaret Porter, and businessman Edgar Welden.
Gay marriage is not legal in Alabama thanks to 1998's Protection of Marriage Act and 2006's Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.