Google loses major LGBTQ rights endorsement in Living Hope Ministries app dispute

The country's largest LGBTQ rights group is revoking its endorsement of Google over the company's refusal to remove an app tied to the practice of conversion therapy.

The Mountain View, Calif. company, which previously scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI) due to policies like same-sex health benefits and transgender-inclusive healthcare, will now have its rating withheld until the app from Living Hope Ministries is removed from its Android phones. The tech giant has faced pressure to remove the app from several LGBTQ groups.

"We have been urging Google to remove this app because it is life-threatening to LGBTQ youth and also clearly violates the company’s own standards," the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday. "Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have taken action to remove the app from their platforms, but so far Google has refused despite our warnings about the dangers."

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In addition, the footnote to Google's entry on the CEI reads as follows:

"Sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” so-called “conversion therapy” includes a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide."

The Sundar Pichai-led company has been taking heat over the app since earlier this year.

HRC President Chad Griffin speaks onstage at The Human Rights Campaign 2018 Los Angeles Gala Dinner at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on March 10, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Human Rights Campaign)

HRC President Chad Griffin speaks onstage at The Human Rights Campaign 2018 Los Angeles Gala Dinner at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on March 10, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Human Rights Campaign)

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman has previously called on Google to remove the app, and said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday: "So-called LGBTQ conversion therapy is child abuse. That is true in person, and it is true online. By allowing people to readily access an application that openly promotes being gay as a 'sickness,' Google is enabling this dangerous and fraudulent practice."

A petition demanding that Google remove the app has garnered 140,000 signatures on Change.org. All apps on Google Play must comply with the company's Play policies, which can be found here.

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The app reportedly provides users with recordings of sermons and text devotionals and includes sections for men, women, young people and parents. Living Hope Ministries has claimed that the app does not promote or endorse conversion therapy.

Sixteen states and Puerto Rico have banned conversion therapy. The practice is widely opposed by mainstream medical organizations.