Apple has removed a conversion therapy app from the App Store following complaints from Truth Wins Out, a national LGBTQ rights organization, Dallas Morning News reports.
Apple had hosted the app for Living Hope Ministries, a non-profit Christian group based in Arlington, Texas. The free app reportedly promoted a “more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ” as a result of eliminating one's homosexuality.
The tech giant removed the app the day after Truth Wins Out launched an online petition demanding its removal.
"I don't know why they would have taken it down," says Living Hope Ministries executive director Ricky Chelette, who was not notified in advance of the deletion. "We'll obviously appeal to them to reinstate it."
Living Hope Ministries maintains that it helps people "seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ." Many LGBTQ groups, however, have accused the group of practicing "ex-gay" reparative therapy, faith-based counseling aimed at ridding someone of homosexuality.
"We have no problem with an individual who is gay if that's what they want to be," Chelette continues. "We don't make any proclamations about fixing anyone... All we do is teach a very orthodox view of biblical truth."
"We thank Apple for exemplifying corporate responsibility and taking swift action to remove a dangerous app that stigmatizes and demeans LGBT people," says Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen in a statement. "Ex-gay programs are consumer fraud and cause significant harm to the people they purport to help."
Besen is still fighting to get the app removed from other platforms such as Amazon and Google. "Every minute this heinous product is available on these platforms, the potential exists for it to harm LGBT youth," he continues. "We demand that Google and Amazon immediately stop selling and promoting this app, which dehumanizes LGBT people."
Apple previously removed a conversion therapy app from Exodus International, a now-defunct Christian group, in 2011.
So far 14 states, as well as Washington, D.C., have legally banned conversion therapy for minors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The controversial practice is still legal in Texas.