Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Alabama, his home state, on Monday for being too slow to ensure the rights of the LGBT community. Cook, who spoke up for the rights of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity at the state Capitol, urged authorities to do better.

While the United States has “a long way to go” before realizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of equality, Alabama, which eliminated a ban on interracial marriage from its Constitution only 14 years ago, was “too slow” to react to the demands of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s, Cook said at the Capitol. His comments came as eight people, including him and University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, were awarded with the Alabama Academy of Honor, which recognizes living state natives for their contributions, The Associated Press, or AP, reported.

“And (Alabama is) still too slow on equality for the LGBT community. Under the law, citizens of Alabama can still be fired based on their sexual orientation,” AP quoted Cook, who is a native of coastal Baldwin County, as saying. “We can't change the past, but we can learn from it and we can create a different future.”

Alabama does not recognize same-sex marriage and does not offer legal protections to people on the basis of their gender identity. Cook, who spoke on behalf of the 2014 inductees to the academy, also called out for equal access to education in the state.

A $100 million fund, which was announced by Apple earlier this year, will be used to pay for equipment and training at 114 schools in more than 29 states, including five in Alabama, AP reported.