Google took down an app that promoted “conversion therapy” from its download store after the pressure it received from LGBT+ rights groups.
An app from Living Hope Ministries (LHM), a religious organisation that is based in Texas, purports to offer some advice on “recovery from same-sex attraction.”
The app accuses gay people of living “destructive lifestyles” and it even equates homosexuality to an addiction.
Google had initially resisted removing the app from its Play Store, however, it changed its stance shortly after the largest LGBT+ rights group in the United States of America announced that it was suspending its endorsement of the tech giant.
The Human Rights Campaign stated: “We have been urging Google to remove this app because it is life-threatening to LGBT+ youth and also clearly violates the company’s own standards.”
Last Thursday Google responded by stating: “After consulting with outside advocacy groups, reviewing our policies, and making sure we had a thorough understanding of the app and its relation to conversion therapy, we’ve decided to remove it from the Play Store, consistent with other app stores.”
Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft had already removed the said app.
The decision of Google came less than 24 hours after the HRC said that it was excluding Google from its Corporate Equality Index, an annual assessment of the policies and practices of companies in support of LGBT+ employees.
Previously, the firm had scored a perfect 100 on the index.
Chad Griffin, the President of the HRC, stated: “Google and other platforms that have pulled this app are taking an important step to protect LGBTQ youth.”
The LHM has denied the allegations that it is involved in so-called conversion therapy, a widely condemned “treatment” that some Christian and conservative groups have over the years sought to use to attempt and force people to change their sexuality.
Its website stated: “Living Hope Ministries hosts the largest, world-wide online support groups for men and women impacted by same-sex attraction. Our online forums provide a free, safe, and moderated opportunity for accountability, encouragement and support from people who understand your struggle.”
Mr Chelette criticised a decision by Apple and Microsoft to remove the app in a recent newsletter.
He wrote: “We are a ministry that for nearly thirty years has helped individuals resolve their feelings they deem incongruent with their faith. We help people deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ.”