updated 06:00 pm EDT, Thu May 30, 2013
App claimed to cure homosexuality in 60 days; still available on Google Play
A gay rights advocacy group known as All Out has called on both Apple and Google to remove a "gay cure" app from their respective app stores. Apple has already removed the app, but as of this writing the program, Setting Captives Free is still available on Google's Play store. Though the program purports to offer solutions to a number of spiritual and medical issues, its main purpose is promoting a 60-day plan that claims to cure gays and lesbians of their sexual orientation. All Out launched a petition drive yesterday to urge stores to remove the app.
The advocacy group reported the app using normal procedures as well as the publicity drive, and Apple quickly removed it. "There is absolutely zero evidence that programs like Setting Captives Free work," said spokesperson Andre Banks. "It is so ridiculous that anyone would think an iPhone or Android app could cure someone's sexual orientation that it is easy to laugh this off, but there are vulnerable people who don't know better and will try this app and fail to change. We are most concerned about those who will harm themselves as a result of this insane app."
The group does note in its petition call that both Apple and Google have policies against these types of apps, but feel that Setting Captives Free may have slipped in under the radar because "curing" homosexuality is not the sole purpose of the app -- it also gives biblically-based advice on diet, substance abuse, gambling and other addictions. All Out notes that practices that try to change people's sexual orientation have been denounced by the American Psychiatric Association, the Pan-American Health Organization and many governments.
At present, the petition has collected over 37,000 signatures trying to pressure Google into removing the app from its Play store. The free program has received uniformly bad reviews, has a current Play ranking of 1.7, and the store indicates it has seen fewer than 5,000 installs. No explanation has been given from Google as to why the app remains available there.