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NEW YORK (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook says he’s proud to be gay.

The public declaration, in an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, makes Cook the highest-profile business CEO to come out as gay.

Cook said that while he never denied his sexuality, he never publicly acknowledged it, either. The executive said that for years he’s been open with many people about his sexual orientation and that plenty of his Apple colleagues know he is gay.

Cook wrote in the column, published Thursday, that it wasn’t an easy choice to publicly disclose that he is gay, but that he felt the acknowledgement could help others.

“I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important,” he wrote.

Three days ago, Cook challenged his home state of Alabama to better ensure the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Alabama is among the states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, and it also doesn’t offer legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Cook is a native of Robertsdale, Alabama, and attended Auburn University.

The announcement is a “huge deal,” said Richard Metheny of executive search firm Witt/Kieffer.

“This really sets the stage for ‘It’s OK,'” he said. “Anything CEOs do is very magnified, very complicated, and it affects a lot of people. … There’s no taking away that he has become a role model and will have a positive influence on lots of people that would like to be comfortable being out in the world of business.”

“I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Cook wrote in the essay Thursday.

The executive said that “being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day.”

Cook said he’s been lucky to work for a company that “loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences.”

Cook, 53, succeeded Apple founder Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple Inc. in 2011.

Apple Inc. has been an outspoken champion for diversity since Cook succeeded Jobs as CEO. The company has trumpeted the phrase, “Inclusion inspires innovation,” as a rallying cry. Cook has reinforced that message on his Twitter account with periodic posts supporting gay rights in the workplace.

Cook’s public declaration that he is gay comes a little more than two months after Robert Hanson — the former CEO of American Eagle Outfitters Inc. — wrote a piece for Time in which he talked about being an openly gay man for as long as he’s been in business and running companies.

Hanson is currently the CEO of luxury jewelry brand John Hardy.

There are no other publicly gay CEOs of major companies. United Therapeutics Corp. CEO Martine Rothblatt, who was born male and is now female, has been open about her transgender status.

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7 thoughts on “Tim Cook: ‘I’m Proud To Be Gay’

  1. Patrishia on said:

    After a federal judge in Idaho recently ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, ordained ministers Donald and Evelyn Knapp who own the Hitching Post wedding chapel in the city of Coeur d‘Alene, were asked by a gay couple to perform their wedding ceremony. According to Fox News , the ministers declined to perform the wedding due to their opposition to same-sex marriage. However, because the Hitching Post wedding chapel is registered as a for-profit business rather than a church or place of worship (although the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible”), they must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance that was passed last year. The question that is most puzzling to me is why did the gay couple choose to do business with that particular wedding chapel? Were there not any other places that they could have gone (such as the Justice of the Peace) to have their wedding performed? Why did the gay couple in Colorado approach the Christian Bakery? Were there no other bakeries in their city or town? It appears that the gay community is targeting Christians and the Christian church. If that is indeed the case, what do they want from the church?

    We were assured by President Obama after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act that he wouldn’t try to force religious institutions to conduct gay marriages. However; I think that the slippery slope metaphor is appropriate for this issue. I have always contended that the goal of the gay rights advocates is to somehow get the church to approve of the homosexual lifestyle by forcing churches to perform gay marriages. If gay couples were to win every court case against Christian business owners or if the law somehow changed so that every Christian pastor is forced to perform same-sex weddings in the church, would they be satisfied? I do not believe that they would because their battle is not a political one, it is a spiritual one. Spiritual issues need to be addressed with God, not fought in the courthouse. Neither man nor woman (through the court system or through his or her approval) can win a spiritual battle for an individual. Gay couples know that Christian ministers pray for God’s blessing over heterosexual couples when performing church weddings. They are seeking what man cannot give, God’s blessing and approval of their lifestyle.

    The gay community is constantly attacking the church as if the church were singling them out. However, it is the other way around; the gay community is singling out the church. How else do you explain gay couples running straight to Christian business owners as soon as their state lifts the ban on same-sex marriage? The church does not single out the homosexual lifestyle when preaching against sexual sins — as though the Bible rates sin on some scale from one to ten. God rates and rejects all sin equally (lying, adultery, theft, fornication). On the other hand, God has love and compassion for sinners so much so that He sent His son Jesus to die and pay the price for sin so that all could be free from the bondage of sin and receive salvation.

    1 Corinthian 6:9-10

    Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality,

    Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God.

    Romans 6:10-12

    For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].

    Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

    Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.

    When I read about Christian business owners being targeted and sued by gay couples, my emotions swing from one extreme to the other. My first reaction is righteous indignation when I consider the political implications of the same-sex marriage issue and the agenda against the church and the people of God. However, when I turn my focus to the individuals, my anger turns to compassion. When I look at the photos of gay individuals marching with signs and scowls on their faces, I am willing to believe that underneath all the anger lies a soul yearning for God’s approval of their lifestyle.

    Yes, I know that many homosexuals and lesbians claim that the Bible is outdated and that Christians are bigots; nonetheless, the first place they run is to a Christian business owner or minister. If they really believed that Christians are bigots, why would they suffer being in their presence? Who do you know chooses to be in the presence of bigots? What these individuals know is that the safest place to be is in the company of God-fearing people. The Washington Times reported on the Christian ministers in Idaho: “On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined.” Not everyone that opposes the homosexual lifestyle does so because of a religious faith. Some individuals are just plain bigots. True bigots are full of hate and have no problem verbally and physically attacking the target of their bigotry.

    It is my belief that the church is the only place where gay individuals can truly find compassion. The gay advocate groups do not care about the individuals. They are just using them to further their political cause in the same way as the abortion advocates use women and young girls. When and if these individuals decide to seek counseling, the church should be the first place they turn. When they turn to the church or any Christian, we should welcome them while at the same time teach them what the Bible says peppered in love as Jesus Himself would do. As Ephesians 4:15 states, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

  2. I said it. on said:

    Okay! Now, Everybody!

    Not…who cares. This feels like more of the same monkey see monkey do BS that the media is trying to push on the public. This executives kicking down the closet door shouldn’t be someone’s motivation to be a homosexual.

  3. We interrupt this broadcast of the cruise ship disaster off the east coast to bring you
    This ( the CEO of a major company has announced He’s Gay!!) really!!! So broadcasting your sexual preference like someone warring saggy paints shows there drawers is now leading news, or so the news media would like us to believe

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