In Alabama, gay marriage is still illegal and workers can be fired based on their sexual orientation.
Though Charles Murphy, mayor of Robertsdale, where Cook spent most of his childhood, said he is proud of Cook’s achievements, he doesn’t need to know about his private life.
“Tim has done a good job with Apple,” Murphy said. “We’re very proud of the accomplishments that he’s made. Sometimes people’s personal lives need to stay personal.”
Cook came out during his speech while being inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, during which he compared the civil rights movement to gay rights.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, an opponent of same-sex marriage and a Republican, objected this idea.
“I don’t connect those two, and in fact I don’t think the African American community connects those two either,” Bentley said.
However, Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker, Democrat Patricia Todd, said she “drew strength” from Cook’s announcement.
“I’m tickled to death,” Todd said. “He is saying what we’ve been saying all along. Equality is good for business.”