Apple has removed from its online store a religious app accused of falsely portraying being gay as an "addiction," "sickness," and "sin" after a national gay-rights organization petitioned to have it pulled.
Truth Wins Out, which says it fights “anti-gay religious extremism,” launched a petition urging Apple to remove the app by Living Hope Ministries, a nonprofit that says it serves “those who are seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Living Hope Ministries developed its app three years ago, according to its executive director Ricky Chelette. He said the group is a "discipleship ministry" and "very much like a church."
"We help people understand who they are in Christ," Chelette told NBC News on Sunday. "We only help those individuals who are seeking us."
Truth Wins Out alleged in its petition that the app sought for LGBT youth "to change from gay-to-straight through prayer and therapy."
The petition had 356 supporters. Truth Wins Out said it will seek to have the Living Hope Ministries app removed from other platforms that still host it.
The gay-rights advocacy group thanked Apple and its CEO Tim Cook in a statement Friday.
“We thank Apple for exemplifying corporate responsibility and taking swift action to remove a dangerous app that stigmatizes and demeans LGBT people,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Ex-gay programs are consumer fraud and cause significant harm to the people they purport to help.”
In a past interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook said being gay was God's greatest gift to him.
“I’m very proud of it,” Tim Cook told Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview for her program on CNN International and PBS. Being gay is “God’s greatest gift to me,” he said.
Cook came out on October 30, 2014. His sexual orientation had been widely rumored beforehand though he had not confirmed it publicly.
“I was public because I started to receive stories from kids who read online that I was gay,” he told Amanpour.