Christian activists lose gay bus advert challenge

The poster banned by Transport for London

The adverts claimed people could “get over” homosexuality

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The High Court has dismissed a charity’s claim the London mayor was responsible for a ban on a bus advert which suggested people could “get over” homosexuality.

The Core Issues Trust (CIT) had accused Boris Johnson of “currying favour” with gay lobby groups.

The mayor’s office had rejected the CIT’s claims.

Mrs Justice Lang said Transport for London (TfL) made the decision not the to run the adverts, not the mayor.

‘Strongly influenced’

Giving a summary of her conclusions, Mrs Justice Lang said: “Mr Everitt of TfL was strongly influenced by Mr Johnson’s opinion when he made the decision not to run the advertisements.

“Mr Johnson was not motivated by an improper purpose, namely, to advance his mayoral election campaign.”

The probe was ordered by the Court of Appeal after it said an earlier ruling on the issue was flawed.

The posters produced by the Christian charity reading, “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” were designed in response to adverts by gay rights group Stonewall which stated: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”

The advert was banned on 12 April 2012, the day before the mayor addressed an election rally organised by gay rights charity Stonewall.

Stonewall's bus advert
The banned advert was in response to a campaign by Stonewall

In March 2013, High Court judge Mrs Justice Lang rejected the charity’s allegations, ruling the ban was lawful.

However CIT obtained access to emails through a Freedom of Information request to the Greater London Authority, which they said proved that the mayor had acted to secure the gay vote.

‘Justified decision’

After their claim was dismissed, the director of the CTI, Dr Mike Davidson, said despite media coverage of the bus campaign it was not until the legal challenge was launched “did Mr Johnson disavow the impression that the decision to pull our advertisement was his own rather than that of Transport for London, which he now insists”.

Howard Carter, general counsel at TfL, said: “As we have always maintained, and the court has ruled, it was our decision not to run the Core Issues Trust adverts and there was no improper purpose behind our decision.”

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It is interesting that the Anti-Gay organisation that authorised an advert on London buses which tried to resist an existing ad. that proclaimed the veracity of  the claim of normality for people of same-sex attraction, should have then accused the Mayor of London of political bias for his part in persuading the London Transport management to ban the anti-Gay advert.

If anyone is prejudiced, it could be that the conservative Christian-based ‘Core Issues Trust’ is the guilty party. The original London bus Advert, sponsored by ‘Stonewall’, an organisation dedicated to securing human rights for LGBT people, was meant to gather support for those in the London area who have been in any way vilified for the fact that they happen to have been gifted with a different sexual-orientation from the majority.

Those in society who have a problem with this – like those of the Core Issues Trust who wanted to publicly proclaim their opposition to  homosexuals in society – have been found wanting, in their desire to continue the culture of homophobia that the original bus advert was trying to dispel. One can only wonder at the following litigation that tried to justify such homophobia on the part of what claims to be a ‘Christian’ organisation.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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