Free Speech Isn’t Always “Fair”

Posted by Laura Jordan

There’s an app for basically everything: buying coffee, turning off your bedroom lights, finding the nearest sushi place, etc. Now there’s an app to “cure the gay.”

Exodus International, a religious group, focuses its efforts on fighting what it considers the “homosexual affliction.” Its website acts as a resource for finding outlets, clinics, and churches that promote heterosexuality and marriage. This video from Exodus’ YouTube channel explains the group’s message:

The group released its mobile application, which offers the same features as their website for “curing homosexuality,” to the Apple iTunes store on February 15. Since then, Apple has received thousands of demands to remove the app for “objectionable content,” mostly in the form a petition by LGBT group Truth Wins Out.

Apple LogoAs an admittedly liberal young woman, I have opinions – and I’m truly disgusted by this application’s existence. But as a journalism student, I have to respect the First Amendment issues at stake. If Apple chooses to remove the app for good, isn’t that a violation of the religious group’s right to free speech? Is this even hate speech? Just because the app exists doesn’t mean that everyone will see it – just like anything available on the internet. Is a fair resolution even possible?


5 responses to “Free Speech Isn’t Always “Fair”

  1. There are plenty of applications out there that make me feel not-so-great. Things that urge me to lose weight, exercise more, wear better clothes, wear more makeup. They don’t take those off, no one even blinks an eye, because those are socially acceptable. And while I am most certainly not against homosexuality, nor do I think it’s something that we need to cure, I do think that people need to suck it up and deal. But apparently, we need to protect the gay kids, who are going to have to learn to deal with this their entire life anyways. It would be much more productive if we took preventative measures so that people don’t buy into this crap. But if we started there, because this applications makes people uneasy, then anyone with a cause would run with it. “My parrot sits over my shoulder while I’m on my iPod. Angry Birds hurts his feelings. Lets start a petition!”

  2. Kelly Hendricks

    It’s hard for me to take a stance on this — it’s very controversial. I would like to think it’s wrong and have it taken away but honestly, just like you said, the First Amendment protects the app.

  3. Why are you disgusted by the apps existence? It’s a voluntary download so, obviously, the users want to be rid of or control their homosexuality.

    Not all queers want to be queer and there’s seemingly no effort being spent in the psychological field to help them overcome or contain it. Apps like this one are one of the few things that might help them with this.

    Aside from that though, I’m pleasantly shocked by your stance on the First Amendment side of this. Bravo! Few can overcome their ideology enough to think that way.

    • I just take issue with the unavoidable and unchangeable fact that people are not more accepting of each other – that’s why I’m disgusted.

      As much as I disagree with the content of the now-removed app, it’s not even close to being on the same level as the Westboro Baptist Church, which is allowed to say what it wants. It’s an odd issue of who is allowed to speak and who isn’t.

  4. I agree with Chelsea. There are plenty of commercials with inappropriate messages, songs with degrading lyrics, and books with ridiculous messages that I disagree with. Yet I don’t go around griping and complaining, demanding they be take off the air or removed from the shelves. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. If you don’t like it, don’t download it.

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