Apple is once again at the center of the heated gay debate after it approved an iPhone app created by Christian group Exodus which has been designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders.
Gay rights activists have raised cudgel against Apple for supporting the app. Exodus International, the maker of the app, explains its belief as: Exodus upholds heterosexuality as God's creative intent for humanity, and subsequently views homosexual expression as outside of God's will.
The Guardian reported that more than 80,000 people have signed a petition against the gay-cure app. The Register reported that the petition was launched by Truth Wins Out.
Exodus International offers a healing alternative for those with same-sex orientation. It explains its modus operandi as: Our member ministries provide support for individuals who want to recover from homosexuality, as well as provide support for their family (parents, spouses, children, relatives) and friends.
In the eye of the storm is this reparative therapy. Change.org appealed to Apple's policy which doesn't allow anti-Semitic and racist apps in its app store yet Apple has been found guilty of allowing the anti-gay app on app store.
One of the comments left on iTunes Apple website said: This is hate-based initiative of the fanatical religious right intending to brainwash and emotionally destroy gay and lesbian people by coercing them to hate themselves based on their natural sexual orientation.
Apple was in a similar sticky situation in Oct. 2010 when it had approved an app called Manhattan Declaration, which is a call of Christian conscience against gay-marriage. The app was formed like a questionnaire which asks a person's view about same sex marriage. If the answer does not confirm to the group's viewpoint it promptly notifies that the answer is incorrect. However, Apple removed the app after much protest from the gay rights activists.
According to Exodus International the app has received 4+ rating from Apple. The rating signifies that Apple does not consider the material offensive.
Change.org states that the app is specifically targeted at young people. It also highlights the recent spate of suicide among LGBT youth. The most high-profile case which received much attention was the suicide by Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi in Sept. 2010, after his sexual encounter with a man was broadcast on the Internet by his roommate. Christian Science Monitor reported that more than five teenagers in the US took their lives last year, all reportedly because they were openly gay.
The petition letter said that Apple has long been a friend of the LGBT community, opposing California's Proposition 8, removing the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration iPhone app, and earning a 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.
This leaves Apple in a situation where it has to decide as to which group it wants to please, with both groups forming a major portion of its market share.