Google removed an app that promoted so-called “conversion therapy” from its Play Store, following pressure from an LGBT rights lobby.
The app was made by Texas-based Christian group Living Hope Ministries, which claims it helps gay people with “leaving” their sexuality.
“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 CNBC in an emailed statement Friday.
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The move came after civil rights group Human Rights Campaign dropped the tech giant from its annual Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates how well companies do at supporting LGBT employees.
In the report, a footnote states that the organization was aware an app distributed on Google’s Play Store had promoted conversion therapy.
A Change.org petition calling on Google to remove the Living Hope recently reached 140,000 signatures.
Conversion therapy, a pseudoscientific practice advanced by some Christian fundamentalists, is widely considered by medical professionals as a baseless method. To the contrary, clinicians have said there is evidence that it is psychologically harmful.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the practice “can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.” Children are “especially vulnerable,” the organization says.
Living Hope has denied it promotes or recommends conversion therapy. It claims on its website that it speaks to “thousands of people” a year about how they can “respond redemptively” to people feeling conflicted about their sexuality. Homosexuality is referenced on the site as being a “destructive lifestyle.”
Living Hope was not immediately available when contacted by CNBC.
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