Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has denounced legislation being considered in more than two dozen states that he said would "enshrine discrimination in state law."
Indiana's governor signed legislation last week that allows businesses to cite religious belief as a reason for refusing service to gays and lesbians. That action has spurred a backlash against such laws from Apple, Salesforce and other major businesses.
Cook, who announced that he is gay in October, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed article published Sunday that Apple would never tolerate discrimination. He said he hopes his advocacy inspires more people to stand up against what he said was state-sponsored discrimination.
The Indiana legislation and measures like it "rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear," he wrote, and "they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality."
Apple was among the companies that opposed similar legislation in Arizona early last year. Facing threats of boycotts from the members of the business community, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the legislation.
However, lawmakers in other states have continued the push to get such "religious freedom" laws on the books.