Apple has formally stated its support for Wednesday’s US Supreme Court decision overturning the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA), which ruled same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
Speaking to AllThingsD, an Apple representative said: “Apple strongly supports marriage equality and we consider it a civil rights issue. We applaud the Supreme Court for its decisions today.”
Earlier this year, Apple was one of the corporations who signed a joint filing supporting gay marriage – Apple’s Steve Dowling said at the time: “DOMA hurts legally married same-sex couples and prevents companies from treating all employees as equals” – but Apple’s pro-gay rights stance goes back considerably further.
In a small gesture last year, as the gay marriage debate raged in the US, Apple added same-sex images to iOS 6’s set of romance-themed emoji icons. And back in 2008, Apple donated $100,000 to a campaign against Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, and made public statements against the amendment.
For decades, Apple has offered the same health benefits to gay couples as to straight ones. Which has been more controversial than you might think; Texas officials took Apple to court over the policy in the early 90s. ( Apple won.)
That’s not to say that Apple and the gay community have never disagreed. The App Store, which Apple polices strictly to keep out unsavoury material, has somehow ended up stocking apps that claim to ‘cure’ gay people of their sexual preferences on more than one occasion. In both cases the app was pulled after public outcry.
At one point too it was thought that Apple had banned an issue of a comic called Saga appearing on the iOS platform because it contained images of gay sex, but it later transpired that the publisher had censored itself, mistakenly thinking the content would violate Apple rules.
Apple isn’t of course the only tech giant to publicly support gay rights, and HP, Google and Instagram – along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – have all made statements in celebration of the Supreme Court decision.