by Olivia Pulsinelli, Houston Business Journal

California-based Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is the latest business to endorse the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

In a statement Houston Unites sent exclusively to the Houston Business Journal, the company wrote: “Apple is proud to be a part of Houston with four stores that employ over 500 people. Our stores and our company are open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Apple supports Proposition 1 as it sends a clear message that Houston is focused on a future of inclusion, diversity and continued prosperity.”
“Apple supports Proposition 1 as it sends a clear message that Houston is focused on a future of inclusion, diversity and continued prosperity,” the California-based company said in a statement.

The statement comes on the same day that Houston Unites, a campaign working to pass Proposition 1, and the Human Rights Campaign held a press conference with Academy Award-winner Sally Field and others supporting HERO.

Also on Oct. 29, former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted her support of the ordinance, and the White House issued a statement about HERO.

“While the Administration generally does not take a formal position on specific proposals or initiatives, the President and Vice President have been strong supporters of state and local efforts to protect Americans from being discriminated against based on who they are and who they love,” White House spokesman Jeff Tiller said in the statement to Houston Unites. “We’re confident that the citizens of Houston will vote in the favor of fairness and equality.”

Closer to home, various other business leaders have spoken out on the issue, many in support. The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was one of the most recent business groups to voice its support for HERO.

According to HERO supporters, the ordinance is designed to protect Houstonians — regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or pregnancy — from discrimination in employment, housing and other sectors.

However, Campaign for Houston, which opposes HERO, claims on its website that the ordinance “gives new special privileges to two special interests, neither of which qualify as true ‘minorities’ requiring special legal protection.”

Olivia Pulsinelli is the senior web editor for the Houston Business Journal’s award-winning website. Follow her on Twitter for more.