Apple Inc., the technology giant whose CEO recently came out as gay, has terminated its contract with an Alabama lobbyist it recently hired who has an anti-LGBT record, according to three sources.
Former Alabama State Rep. Jay Love, who served in the Alabama Legislature between 2003 and 2013, appears on the Alabama Ethics Commission list of lobbyists for 2015 under his full name, Julius Kenneth Love, as representing Apple, Inc. The news was first reported by the subscription-based Inside Alabama Politics.
But after inquiries made by the Washington Blade about Love’s role with the company, sources said Love is no longer employed by Apple as of last Friday and the company has contracted someone else for the position.
Lesbian State Rep. Patricia Todd declined to comment on Apple’s employment of Love, but said he’s no longer under contract with the company.
“I have no comment at this time but it is my understanding they have terminated the contract with Jay Love,” Todd said.
Ben Cooper, board chair of Equality Alabama, said Apple has hired Greg Jones, founder and president of the Alabama-based Jones Group, LLC, to take Love’s place.
“It is my understanding that Apple has terminated their contract with Jay Love and has hired Greg Jones,” Cooper said. “I would refer you to Apple for comment on making this decision.”
Another LGBT advocate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said news that Love is employed by Apple is “bad information” and the company “let him go last Friday.”
Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokesperson, said Monday her company doesn’t employ Love when asked if Apple was OK with his views and why he was hired in the first place.
“Jay Love does not work for Apple nor does he do any lobbying on our behalf,” Huguet said.
But if Apple has terminated its contract with Love, the process hasn’t formally been certified by the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Vicky Manning, a lobbyist liaison for the Alabama Ethics Commission, said she’s received no notification yet from Apple that Love’s contract was terminated.
“As of yet, I do not have the termination statement in our office,” Manning said. “They have 10 days in which to submit any changes in their registration.”
UPDATE: On Wednesday, Manning told the Blade she received a statement of termination for Love effective Feb. 13.
Over the course of his 10-year career as a Republican representing part of Montgomery in the state legislature, Love opposed same-sex marriage.
In 2008, just one day after the California Supreme Court struck down a ban on same-sex marriage, Love as part of a primary bid for a congressional seat ran a campaign ad in which a narrator says, “Jay Love will stand up to the liberals and fight for what’s right. He’ll defend the unborn [and] traditional marriage.”
According to a CBS News report at the time, the ad was the first to reference the court decision, which was later overturned by the enactment of Proposition 8. Although Love won the Republican primary, he was narrowly defeated in the general election.
In 2009, then-Miss California Carrie Prejean made headlines by expressing her opposition to same-sex marriage during the Miss USA pageant, saying, “I think marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody, but that’s how I was raised.”
The same week, Love introduced a resolution in the Alabama Legislature commending Prejean for speaking out against same-sex marriage, which was later approved by voice vote. According to a report from the Associated Press, Love said Prejean stuck to her convictions even if it meant losing the pageant.
Love stepped down from his seat in 2013. Since that time, he has started work as finance chair for the Montgomery-based Business Education Alliance, an organization that seeks to connect the interests of the business sector with the public education system.
It’s unclear to what extent Love would have been expected to lobby on LGBT issues as part of his new role for Apple, Inc. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook, upon his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor, took his home state of Alabama to task for dragging its feet on granting equality to minorities and the poor.
“As a state, we took too long to step toward equality,” Cook said. “We were too slow on equality for African Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage, and we are still too slow for the equality for the LGBT community.”
Just days later, Cook himself disclosed his sexual orientation in an op-ed in Bloomberg Businessweek, saying, “So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
In December, the Associated Press reported Cook contributed an undisclosed amount to Project One America, a three-year, $8.5 million campaign launched by the Human Rights Campaign to advance LGBT rights in the South.
One bill that could advance LGBT rights in Alabama was introduced by lesbian State Rep. Patricia Todd of Birmingham called the “Tim Cook Economic Development Act,” which would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity against Alabama state employees.
According to a report at the time in Buzzfeed, Todd initially said Apple was hesitant about the bill bearing Cook’s name, but she later told media outlets the company contacted her to say it would support the idea.
Love declined to comment for this article. The Blade asked him whether he think his views are odds with Apple and if they’ve changed since his time in the legislature.