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Google removes conversion therapy app from Play Store

Google has removed a gay conversion therapy app from a religious group called Living Hope Ministries from the Play Store after vocal protests from a wide range of groups, including thousands of internet users, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, and most recently, the Human Rights Campaign, as reported by Axios.

The removal of the app comes just a day after Google was suspended from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (which rates workplaces on overall LGBTQ equality) due to Google’s then-refusal to remove the app.

Google is the last major tech company to remove the app: back in December, both Apple and Amazon removed the apps from their respective app stores, but the app remained live on Google’s store until this week. In that time, the call for Google to remove the app had gotten dramatically louder. A Change.org petition requesting that the app be removed reached over 142,000 signatures — for comparison, the Apple-focused petition against the app reached just 356 signatures before Apple acted to remove it.

Conversion therapy — which pseudo-scientifically claims that a person’s sexuality can be changed from gay to straight through treatment, and which has been widely discredited in numerous studies — has been banned in 15 states.

In a statement released to Axios, Google explained, “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.”

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