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Alabama anti-discrimination bill to be named for Apple CEO Tim Cook

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A bill is being introduced in the state of Alabama to ban discrimination against state employees because of their sexual orientation, and it looks like that measure will bear Apple CEO Tim Cook's name. According to Reuters, democratic state representative Patricia Todd, who is the state's only openly gay lawmaker and the sponsor of the bill, will put Cook's name on it after the Apple CEO spoke out against sexual orientation discrimination at the Alabama Academy of Honor. Cook's speech took place just days before Cook came out publicly in a Bloomberg Businessweek editorial, saying that he was "proud to be gay."

The combination of Cook's speech and his public announcement that he was gay led Todd to say that she would put his name on the bill, but she then said she was initially speaking in jest. Todd also said that an Apple representative had contacted her, expressing concern about attaching Cook's name to the measure.

However, it sounds like those comments reached Apple, and Cook (who grew up and attended college in Alabama) said he was proud and honored to be associated with the bill. In a statement to Reuters, Apple said that "Tim was honored to hear that State Rep. Todd wanted to name an anti-discrimination 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."

Cook's support for the bill is no surprise — last fall, he publicly backed a federal employee nondiscrimination bill in an editorial for The Wall Street Journal. As for the Alabama measure, it's set to be introduced in March, but could face a difficult challenge from the state's heavily Republican legislature.