Google Inc will remove a controversial app that promoted “conversion therapy” from its Play Store after pressure from a gay-rights lobby.
The app was developed by Living Hope Ministries, a Christian group started some 30 years ago, which says it serves people feeling conflicted about their faith and sexuality. Among mainstream medical professionals, conversion therapy is considered psychologically harmful.
“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 spokesman said in a statement. Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc had already removed it.
The decision came less than 24 hours after Human Rights Campaign said it was excluding a rating of Google for its Corporate Equality Index, an annual assessment of companies’ policies and practices in support of LGBTQ employees. Google had previously scored a perfect 100 on the index. It was only the third time in 17 years that a rating had been withheld.
“Google and other platforms that have pulled this app are taking an important step to protect LGBTQ youth,” Human Right Campaign President Chad Griffin said in an emailed statement.
A January blog post from Living Hope Ministries that protested Apple’s decision to remove the app from its App Store disputed a connection to conversion therapy. Living Hope Ministries didn’t return an email seeking comment.