Apple has removed an iPhone app considered anti-gay following a wave of protests sent through the online petition site Change.org.
Initially approved and available in the App Store in October, the Manhattan Declaration app was submitted by members of the Manhattan Declaration, a movement launched last year by a number of Christian leaders espousing their condemnation of both gay marriage and abortion rights.
In approving the app, Apple originally gave it a rating of 4+, meaning it had "no objectionable material."
But described by Change.org as an application that invites people to join anti-gay and anti-choice campaigns, the Manhattan Declaration app had offered a "survey" with four questions, including "Do you believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman?" and "Do you support the right of choice regarding abortion?" Users who responded contrary to the beliefs of the group received a message at the end informing them that they answered 0 out of 4 questions correct. The app also invited people to sign up to support and donate to the group's cause.
In reaction to the app, Change.org created an online petition directed toward Apple CEO Steve Jobs asking that the app be removed for its "hateful and divisive language." Following e-mails from more than 7,700 people sent through Change.org, Apple removed the app Thanksgiving weekend.
In response to the app's removal, an Apple spokeswoman e-mailed CNET the following statement:
"We removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people."
In its own response yesterday, the Manhattan Declaration said that it's perplexed over Apple's decision to remove the app, saying that "Apple pulled the app shortly after a small but very vocal protest by those who favor gay marriage and abortion."
Responding to charges that the Manhattan Declaration is homophobic and anti-gay, the group said it doesn't believe that "disagreement" is "gay-bashing" and insists that the language it uses "to defend traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life...is civil, non-inflammatory, and respectful." The group also said it has written to Steve Jobs urging him to restore the app.