Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook said Thursday that he was “proud to be gay,” a declaration that puts an openly gay man at the helm of the world’s most valuable company.
Rumored for years, the news surprised few who follow the company closely. But it was nonetheless a signal moment in a social and legal transformation that has cut across American life.
“If Tim Cook can be openly gay, then it just shouldn’t matter in any other corporation in America,” said Trevor Burgess, the openly gay CEO of the Florida bank C1 Financial Inc., which went public in August.
Acceptance of gays and lesbians in the U.S. has moved rapidly in the last decade. Same-sex marriage is now legal in more than 30 states after campaigns often backed by major corporations like Amazon . com Inc., and high-profile people in sports, entertainment and politics have come out in recent years.