Patricia Todd, the only openly gay state representative in Alabama, has decided to name her anti-discrimination bill after Apple CEO Tim Cook, an Alabama native that came out as gay back in October. NDTV that Apple was hesitant at first about having its CEO’s name on her bill, but later came to embrace the idea.
Cook came out just days after accepting an Alabama Academy of Honor award with a speech that criticized the state’s lack of progress on gay rights. Todd told reporters that she’d put his name on the bill, which is set to be introduced in March, as a joke, but the news spread across the media and eventually reached the ears of Cook himself, who liked the idea.
“Nobody could have scripted this. I never in a million years would have expected it.” said Todd, as quoted by Business Insider. Todd added that she hopes Cook will come to the Legislature and speak on the bill’s behalf, particularly to highlight its value in attracting business and legal talent to the state.
“We need business to grow in Alabama and we need to get over this terrible reputation we have for being intolerant,” said Todd, as quoted by UPI. “This bill will help educate people that openly gay people are discriminated against and need protection in Alabama.”
In a statement provided to Reuters, Apple said: “Tim was honored to hear that State Representative 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.”