Apple Turns Its U.S. Lobbying Efforts Toward LGBTQ Rights

Emily Birnbaum, Politico:

Apple is quietly mobilizing its vast resources to lobby against anti-LGBTQ legislation proliferating across the country — an unusual push by one of the world’s most valuable companies into a consequential political debate.


Apple’s senior director of corporate communications, Fred Sainz, this month pressed leaders of fellow Fortune 500 companies to denounce an order by the Texas governor that called for child abuse investigations of parents who provide transgender children with gender-affirming care despite opposition from doctors.

“I’m reaching out from Apple because we’re hoping you’ll join us and lend your company’s name to a critical issue,” wrote Sainz, who was formerly the vice president of communications and marketing at the HRC, in an email to his corporate affairs counterparts on March 5.

“Apple has joined the effort and will lend its name and logo,” Sainz said in the email, obtained by POLITICO. “I’m reaching out because we are hoping you will too.” Ultimately, 60 other organizations signed on to the letter, which was published in The Dallas Morning News on March 11.


Apple used to be a quieter lobbyist, but its efforts increased significantly in 2017 and have stayed higher in subsequent years than before. Last year, it was the fourth biggest spender in the electronics manufacturing category, spending less than first-place Oracle, Microsoft, and Qualcomm. The vast majority of its efforts are in areas you might expect: trying to swat away antitrust laws or anything that might affect the App Store, taxes, navigating changes to import and export laws, and intellectual property. But it does reserve some of its lobbying strength for civil rights issues and combatting anti-immigration policies, especially in recent years.

If Apple wants to increase its lobbying involvement for social issues, I am glad to see it is on the right side, especially in light of the increasingly deranged media coverage of LGTBQ-adjacent issues and the dehumanizing legislation being passed in several states.

One of the states where aggressively vile anti-LGBTQ policies are being pursued is Texas. A whole lot of companies, undoubtably lured by tax incentives, expanded their operations in the state in recent years. Their signatures on the Human Rights Campaign letter are important. But it is not as though Texas was known for its support of queer rights when those companies decided to build a greater presence in the state. Public shaming is one thing, and lobbying shows that Apple is one of the companies putting money in the game, but Texas is still reaping economic benefits despite its miserable discrimination.