Ban on ‘Ex-gay’ bus adverts upheld in London court
LONDON, March 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – London’s City Hall ban on bus adverts carrying “ex-gay” slogans is lawful, a London court ruled on Friday. Mrs. Justice Lang ruled the advertisements by a Christian group could “cause grave offence” to homosexuals and was seen as “homophobic…thus increasing the risk of prejudice and homophobic attacks.”
The ads were seen briefly in the spring last year on the sides of London’s famous double-decker buses, sporting the slogan, “Not gay! Post-gay and proud. Get over it.”
The ad spots were designed and sponsored by the group Core Issues Trust, in answer to previous campaigns by the homosexualist lobby group Stonewall that said, “Some people are gay. Get over it!” and an earlier, highly publicized campaign by atheists that said, “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
Dr. Michael Davidson, the instigator of the ex-gay campaign and a therapist who has experienced and rejected same-sex attraction himself, told LifeSiteNews.com that the ruling is “instructive.”
“We have successfully exposed a public body’s attempts at favouring anti-Christian propaganda through their failure to use their own criteria when accepting the Stonewall and the British Humanist Association's adverts,” he said.
It is notable that in ruling against the ex-gay ads, the judge also said that the Stonewall and BHA adverts were “highly offensive” and should not have been approved. She found that in barring the Trust’s ads after allowing the other campaigns, the London transport authority had applied its policies “inconsistently” and “partially.” She concludes that the decision to ban the ads was “procedurally unfair,” “in breach of its own procedures” and “demonstrated a failure to consider the relevant issues”.
“When the Stonewall advert is challenged by a conservative Christian group, the Courts move to shut down all three,” Davidson said.
The judge allowed leave to appeal to a higher court, on the grounds that the Trust’s claim concerned “an interference with the right to freedom of expression by a public body, which is a matter of such fundamental importance that it merits consideration by an appellate court.”
Core Issues Trust had argued that London Mayor Boris Johnson had unlawfully banned the ads based on political motivations. Johnson’s involvement was questioned in the ruling, since he is known as a strong supporter of the homoesxualist political agenda, including the government’s plans to install “gay marriage,” and was running for office at the time.
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The Trust argued that the freedom “to articulate alternative, non-affirming responses to homosexuality is an important right to be protected.”
The group argued that the ads were intended simply to inform the public that many disagree with the assertion that homosexuality is an innate and unchangeable condition. The homosexualist movement bases much of its claims for “equality,” including demands that laws be changed defining marriage and the family, on the idea that homosexuality is a normal and immutable human variation akin to race.
Davidson told LSN that the bus campaign was torpedoed through an orchestrated social media campaign after information about it was leaked to the hard-left Guardian newspaper. This “trial by Twitter” started when homosexualist activist groups, “in a matter of hours,” started objecting to any opposition to the promotion of homosexuality, he says.
According to Davidson the existence of “ex-gays” presents a conundrum with regards to protected groups under the Equality Act. The Act assumes that “gay” is an unchangeable category, but Davidson says that if the law insists that an “ex-gay” is homosexual, that person’s right “to hold a changed identity” is being ignored. If the “ex-gay” person is regarded as heterosexual under the law, then Davidson says the law must be amended to recognise that a change is indeed possible.
“We are currently consulting with our legal team to consider which points of law should and can be appealed,” he said. “Whilst the judge has said such an appeal is unlikely to change the decision, there seems to be recognition of the lack of balance in the judgments outcome.”
He added, “Buses will never be the beat medium for nuanced discussion about a complex subject - but given how one-sided debate has been in the UK," he felt that it was profitable to "stand up against the intrusive Stonewall advert on 1000 buses.”