Google pulled a controversial app promoting gay conversion therapy from its app store on Friday, one day after the Human Rights Campaign suspended the tech giant from its latest Corporate Equality Index for allowing the app to remain available.
A Change.org petition calling for Google to remove the Living Hope Ministries app had racked up 142,00 signatures by early Friday. The petition was set up by Two, an LGBTQ organization aiming to “save LGBT youth and their families the trauma of enduring these psychologically abusive conversion programs that don’t work and can lead to devastating consequences, such as severe depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.”
Google had been criticized by the HRC in its 17th annual CEI for failing to remove the app from the Play Store in the same way Microsoft, Google and Amazon had done.
“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,” a Google spokesperson told TheWrap on Friday.
A rep for Living Hope Ministries did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment. The ministry, based out of Arlington, Texas, holds a “Christ-centered, Biblical world-view of sexual expression,” according to its website, rooted in one man and one woman in a committed, monogamous, heterosexual relationship for life.” Anything less than this “ideal,” according to LHM, “falls short of God’s best for humanity.”
Other LGBTQ organizations had joined the HRC this week in pressuring Google to remove the LHM app. Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis counseling to LGBTQ children considering taking their own lives, said in a statement “the very idea that sexual orientation and gender identity should be change is junk science.”
Paley added: “We are glad Google has joined the rest of the technology sector in its rightful rejection of the dangerous and discredited practice which harms the LGBTQ youth we serve each day.”