The “Manhattan Declaration” application “reaffirms the moral teachings of our Christian faith on the sanctity of human life, marriage and sexual morality, and religious freedom and the rights of conscience,” quotes the Christian Post. The Declaration is a 4,700-word statement signed by many Christian religious leaders and citizens that claims to speak “in defense of the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty. It issues a clarion call to Christians to adhere firmly to their convictions in these three areas.” It calls relationships among LGBT people “immoral sexual partnerships,” and says marriage “is not a civil right” for them, among sending other anti-LGBT messages. The declaration was written in late September 2009, and the application was created this year.
Apple initially approved the application in October, but rejected it in November in response to an outcry from the LGBT community and its allies as well as petitions with almost 8,000 signatures, calling it offensive. The edited version removed a poll which asked users their opinions regarding LGBT relationships and abortion and awarded them points for “correct” answers (which opposed equality for LGBT people). The revised version was submitted along with its own petition.
Apple rejected the second submission on the same grounds as the first, noting that the app is likely “to expose a group to harm” and “to be objectionable and potentially harmful to others.” The Manhattan Declaration website posted a statement on December 23 announcing Apple’s rejection of the app, and the makers of the content plan to take the issue to the Apple’s App Review Board after the holidays. Media coverage of this second rejection does not seem to have been picked up by many conservative outlets as of yet.
GLAAD has been at the forefront of this story since its beginning, and has consistently urged Apple to stand firm against anti-LGBT activists. We presented a Call to Action for readers to speak out against bigotry and to encourage the company to stand strong against intolerance. “This application fuels a climate in which gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are put in harm’s way. Apple did the right thing in recognizing that this application violates the company’s guidelines,” we commented at the time. We provided significant publicity to this cause, and our petition on Change.org garnered over 4,000 signatures.
GLAAD thanks every supporter who signed our petition and took action after learning about this issue. Apple stood by its decision after you told them to stay strong, and we applaud this huge success.