But the reaction to his announcement has mostly stayed true to the recent environment, in which high-profile coming-out statements are followed by a relative lack of controversy — perhaps a sign that LGBT orientations are no longer a viable wedge issue in the mainstream.
“The issue may no longer help opponents of gay rights to win elections,” Richard Socarides wrote in the New Yorker. He then quoted an e-mail from New York Times congressional reporter Jeremy Peters, who said: “Most Republicans are adopting what they see as a do-no-harm strategy: Don’t advocate for same-sex marriage, but don’t do anything to actively oppose it either.”
With a nod to his famously private nature, Cook wrote: “I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”
Russian member of Parliament: “Ban him for life.”
Vitaly Milonov is pretty well-known for his anti-gay activism in Russia. He’s the author of a St. Petersburg homosexuality ban that inspired a national law. He fought with Stephen Fry. And in response to Tim Cook’s coming out, Milonov had things to say.
“What could he bring us? The Ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhea? They all have unseemly ties over there,” the elected official said, according to Buzzfeed’s translation. Milonov added: “Ban him for life.”
American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer: Media “lionized” Cook, “demonized” Mozilla CEO.
The AFA’s Fischer is a pretty dependable source for reactions to LGBT news. Cook’s coming-out was no exception.
Ted Cruz: “I love my iPhone”
Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who is not running for president in 2016, happened to be on CNBC shortly after Cook’s announcement.
Here was his response, as the Hill reported: “Those are his personal choices. I’ll tell you, I love my iPhone. Listen, Tim Cook makes his personal decisions, and that is his life. My focus is on the constitutional question of who has the authority to make decisions.”
Ben Shapiro: “No conservative is going to launch a boycott against Apple over this.”
On Breitbart.com, Shapiro drew a similar comparison to Fischer’s between the media reaction to Tim Cook’s essay and the controversy over the news that Brendan Eich, CEO of Mozilla Firefox, financially supported the California ballot measure against gay marriage.
The comparison comes after a paragraph of requests to “put aside” Shapiro’s grievances with Cook’s announcement, including “ambiguity as to whether he considers his sexual drive a gift from God or his choices about how to act on them a gift from God,” and “Cook’s own self-aggrandizing nonsense about announcing his sexual predilections in order to help others.”
Instead, Shapiro wants people to “focus in on the fact that Cook doesn’t just come out as gay, he then says that he will use Apple as a political tool in the fight for homosexual rights.” He quoted a relevant block of text from Cook’s announcement, in which the Apple executive promises to “personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up” and discusses the company’s previous support for a workplace equality bill that would prevent a company like Apple from firing someone like Cook because of his sexual orientation.
“No conservative is going to launch a boycott against Apple over this,” Shapiro said. “Nor should they – we are not the ideological totalitarians those on the left are.”