Moral Low Ground

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Apple Terminates Anti-Gay Alabama Lobbyist Jay Love

Jay Love (YouTube screen grab)

Jay Love (YouTube screen grab)

Apple Inc. has fired a former Alabama state lawmaker with a history of opposing rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Inside Alabama Politics reports Apple has terminated the contract of Jay Love, a former Republican state legislator turned lobbyist who was registered with the Alabama Ethics Committee as an Apple representative.

Love first raised eyebrows and ire in 2008 when, during an unsuccessful bid for Congress, he aired a campaign ad in which he promised to “stand up to the liberals and fight for what’s right,” including defending “traditional marriage.”

The following year, Love again made headlines when he sponsored a resolution praising Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean for her anti-same-sex marriage stance.

Love was named on the Alabama Ethics Committee’s registered lobbyist list as recently as Tuesday morning. But Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told the Huffington Post later on Tuesday that Love “does not work for Apple, nor does he do any lobbying on our behalf.” Huguet did not elaborate on why Love was no longer with the company.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, an Alabama native, came out as gay late last year, making him the first CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation to do so.

“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now,” Cook wrote in Bloomberg. “So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

Speaking at his October 2014 induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor, which acknowledges native sons and daughters for their outstanding accomplishments and service, Cook took his home state to task for failing to protect LGBT rights.

“As a state, we took too long to steps toward equality,” he said. “We were too slow on equality for African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage, and we are still too slow for the equality for the LGBT community.”

Cook also recently announced that he would help fund a major gay rights initiative in three southern states, including his native Alabama. He will help the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT equality group, to fund Project One America, a three-year, $8.5 million civil rights campaign in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) recently announced she would introduce the Tim Cook Economic Development Act, a bill that, if passed, will prohibit discrimination against state employees on the basis of sexual orientation. According to Inside Alabama Politics, Cook was initially hesitant to lend his name to the measure, but later agreed.

“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,” Apple said in a statement. “We have a long history of support for LGBT rights and we hope every state will embrace workplace equality for all.”

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