Apple CEO Tim Cook, who rarely makes public statements -- aside, of course, from discourse at new product introductions -- penned an op-ed piece for Sunday's Wall Street Journal, in which he urged the Senate to pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, or ENDA, which would protect workers from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
In part, Cook's op-ed said the following:
Apple's antidiscrimination policy goes beyond the legal protections U.S. workers currently enjoy under federal law, most notably because we prohibit discrimination against Apple's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. A bill now before the U.S. Senate would update those employment laws, at long last, to protect workers against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Protections that promote equality and diversity should not be conditional on someone's sexual orientation. For too long, too many people have had to hide that part of their identity in the workplace.
The Senate vote on ENDA is currently scheduled to take place on Monday.
While urging senators to pass the bill, Cook challenged the House of Representatives -- or basically, House Speaker John Boehner -- to bring the matter to a vote, if the bill passes. This challenge was issued because the bill might have enough votes to pass the House, but not enough to meet the requirements of the Hastert Rule, also known as the "Majority of the Majority Rule," which is a rule that GOP Speakers tend to use, one which minimizes the power of the minority party.
The Hastert Rule says that the Speaker bring a bill to the floor if it does not have majority support within his or her party, even if the majority of the members of the House would vote to pass it. It is one used only by the GOP.
Ironically, Cook penned his missive for the WSJ, which is a notoriously conservative publication. While much of the editorial focused on human rights, Cook added the following for the more conservative side of the aisle, and those more focused on the bottom line:
People are much more willing to give of themselves when they feel that their selves are being fully recognized and embraced.
Tim Cook was named the CEO of Apple on Aug. 24, 2011, when his predecessor, Steve Jobs, stepped down due to medical reasons. Jobs later died, on Oct. 5, 2011.