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Apple, Symantec, other tech heavies challenge anti-gay legislation

Companies demand veto of controversial bill

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Apple, Symantec, and other have put their weight behind efforts to defeat a law in Arizona which would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The companies are among a growing list of businesses that have publicly called on Governor Jan Brewer to veto SB1062, a bill that would expand an existing religious-freedom law to allow businesses to refuse service to customers based on sexual orientation.

Proponents of the bill have argued that it aims to allow business owners to express their religious beliefs. Opponents say that the bill would legalize discrimination against the LGBT community and violate civil rights laws.

Among the long list of firms who have come out against the measures is Apple, which recently kicked off work on a sapphire glass display manufacturing facility in the city of Mesa, outside the Arizona capital of Phoenix. That plant is said to have capacity to build up to 200 million iPhone displays.

According to reports, Apple recently met with Brewer to lobby for a veto of the bill. The company has previously pushed for anti-discrimination laws and has advocated for the rights of its LGBT workers.

Symantec has also come out to fight against SB1062. The security and storage giant is among the firms who signed an open letter to Brewer penned by the Arizona Technology Council. The letter argues that in building a reputation for intolerance and hostility, the state runs the risk of harming business and driving away commerce.

"This legislation will greatly impact our ability to not only attract top talent to move to Arizona, but will also greatly inhibit our ability to recruit businesses to relocate here. We worry about our ability to succeed in competing with other markets," the letter argues.

"This legislation is frivolous, unnecessary and fiscally perilous. Arizona business owners already have the right to refuse business to anyone. There is no need for this legislation, and we believe it is attempting to fix a problem that doesn't exist."

Other big names signing on to the campaign include AT&T, security firm Lumension, and PetSmart. ®

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