The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights group in the U.S., has suspended Google from its Corporate Equality Index—an annual report that ranks companies based on how LGBT-friendly they are. The decision was made after Google refused to pull a gay conversion therapy app from its store.
“Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades,” the Human Rights Campaign emphasized. “Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide. Pending remedial steps by the company to address this app that can cause harm to the LGBTQ community, the CEI rating is suspended.”
The app was created by a religious organization called Living Hope Ministries. Their mission, according to the Living Hope Ministries’ website, is to “proclaim God’s truth as we journey with those seeking sexual and relational wholeness through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.”
An online petition calling for the app’s removal has garnered more than 140,000 signatures. As Axios reports, other tech giants—including Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon—have removed the app from their stores. This prompted many LGBT rights advocates to wonder: Why won’t Google do the same?
There are no clear answers to that question, given that Google has yet to publicly explain their rationale. According to Axios, the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT groups have requested a meeting with CEO Sundar Pichai, but their requests have thus far gone unanswered.
In the meantime, the Human Rights Campaign has doubled-down on its decision to withhold its endorsement until the company takes a stand against conversion therapy.
“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 organization told Bloomberg.