March 29, 2019 / 11:42 PM / 2 months ago

Under Pressure, Google Removes Gay Conversion Therapy App

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Google has removed a controversial app from Texas-based Living Hope Ministries that advocated for gay conversion therapy after coming under pressure from civil rights groups and the public. The app suggested that users could “pray away the gay,” and disparaged homosexuality as a “destructive lifestyle.”

“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,” Google said in a statement provided to Axios, which first reported the removal.

The app had previously been hosted by Apple, Amazon and Microsoft as well, but the three companies responded swiftly to critics and removed it in December. However, it remained on Google’s Play Store.

LGBTQ advocacy group Truth Wins Out upped the pressure on the company with a petition on Change.org, which was signed by 142,191 people. This week, the Human Rights Campaign also suspended the company from its annual Corporate Equality Index.

On Friday, Truth Wins Out celebrated the removal of the app as a victory for civil rights.

“We are delighted that Google finally backed down and deleted a dangerous app that targeted LGBTQ youth with toxic messages of guilt and shame,” said Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen in a statement. “We hope this sends a powerful message that ‘pray away the gay’ products are unacceptable and have no place in a decent and civilized society.”

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