Technology

Google under pressure to remove app from group accused of portraying being gay as 'sickness'

Tech giant Google is facing pressure from activists to remove an app from its "Google Play" store from a group that has allegedly describe being gay as a "sickness." 

The app, developed by Living Hope Ministries, promotes the controversial and unproven practice of gay conversion therapy while claiming that LGBT people live with "sickness," "addiction" and "sin," according to NBC News.

A New York state senator and activists at Truth Wins Out have urged tech companies to remove the application from their services. New York and more than a dozen other states have banned the practice of gay conversion therapy.

"Google [is] planning to have about 7,000 employees in our Senate district, so I would urge them to remove the app post-haste," New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D) told The Verge.

"I'm hopeful that they'll see the harm that this kind of message sends to the kids and families."

A spokesperson for Google did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on Tuesday.

Apple, which runs its own app store, removed the app late last month. 

"We thank Apple for exemplifying corporate responsibility and taking swift action to remove a dangerous app that stigmatizes and demeans LGBT people," Truth Wins Out director Wayne Besen said at the time.

"Ex-gay programs are consumer fraud and cause significant harm to the people they purport to help."

Ricky Chelette, who runs Living Hope Ministries, told NBC News at the time that he would challenge attempts to remove his application from circulation.

"I think it's unfortunate that the advocacy group doesn't know what we do and is assuming that we're some hate organization. We are not," Chelette said in December. "We love gay-identified individuals."

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