Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an opinion piece urging the U.S. government to pass an anti-gay discrimination bill. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

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Weighing in for the first time on a highly divisive debate, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook is urging the U.S. government to approve an anti-gay discrimination bill.

In an opinion piece that ran online Sunday in the Wall Street Journal, Cook spoke about his company's employment anti-discrimination policy, which goes further than the federal government's because it also prohibits discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. 

"As we see it, embracing people's individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights," Cook wrote. "It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. We've found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives."

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Cook then urged the Senate and the House of Representatives to vote on and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on an employee's sexual orientation and gender identity.

"If our coworkers cannot be themselves in the workplace, they certainly cannot be their best selves," Cook wrote in the piece.

It's not often that the CEOs of top companies speak out on political issues, but Apple has a strong resume for supporting the gay community. For example, earlier this year, Apple supported the Supreme Court for two rulings that were in favor of gay marriage.

"We consider it a civil rights issue. We applaud the Supreme Court for its decisions today,” Apple said at the time.

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