PayPal has responded to calls for it to cancel the accounts of faith groups accused of promoting hate against gay people.

The e-payments service said it could not comment on individual accounts and has to take “freedom of religion” into account.

Campaign group AllOut, which gathered more than 25,000 signatures in an online petition, says PayPal quickly banned white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan when complaints rose about that group’s account.

AllOut says 11 groups, mainly from the US, should have their accounts closed. They include Abiding Truth Ministries, which has supported anti-gay legislation in Uganda, and Family Research Institute and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, both of which say homosexuality is dangerous and unnatural.

A spokeswoman for PayPal said: “PayPal does not allow the use of its service for activities that promote hatred, violence or racial intolerance. We take very seriously any cases where a user has incited hatred, violence or intolerance because of a person’s sexual orientation.

“However, we also take into account the rights of free speech and freedom of religion. Balancing these conflicting rights is often difficult, and so we assess possible infringements objectively against our Acceptable Use Policy.

“While we can’t comment on any specific accounts because of customer confidentiality, we regularly review organisations and websites that use our service, and stop working with those that break our Acceptable Use Policy. We also enable people to report suspected breaches of this policy on our website.”

PayPal’s policy says it prohibits use of its service for “activities that […] promote hate, violence [and] racial intolerance”.

Speaking earlier this week, Andre Banks of AllOut said: “When PayPal came under fire in the past for processing donations to white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan, the company did the right thing and promptly removed them. If PayPal hears us and terminates these ten accounts, we will cut funds from ten of the most dangerous hate groups and have a real impact against homophobia worldwide.”