LONDON — At least one of two conservative Christian groups whose planned ads promoting “ex-gay” therapy were pulled from London buses because transport authority said they were “intolerant,” said they are now considering legal action.
Anglican Mainstream, a traditionalist Christian coalition, and Core Issues Trust – a counseling group which practices controversial “reorientation” therapy – announced on Thursday that they had booked advertising space promoting the idea that people can become “post-gay” through therapy.
But the Transport for London (TfL) told the British press corps this week that the “Some People are Ex-Gay! Get Over it!” ads booked by Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust, would not be permitted anywhere on Transport’s network.
“We don’t believe these ads reflect TfL’s commitment to a tolerant and inclusive London,” the TfL said.
The “ex-gay” campaign was an effort to counter advertisements taken out by the gay rights group Stonewall earlier this month as part of the campaign supporting same-sex marriage.
The Stonewall ads emblazoned the message, “Some people are Gay. Get over it!” across London’s famed buses.
On Friday, Anglican Mainstream said it has engaged a law firm to look at whether TfL acted illegally when it scrapped the adverts.
TfL said the advertisement was not consistent with its commitment to a tolerant city.
London mayoral candidates also weighed in, with incumbent Tory Boris Johnson, telling the media: “London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.”
Labour’s candidate Ken Livingstone said the “ex-gay” ads “promote a falsehood, the homophobic idea of ‘therapy’ to change the sexual orientation of lesbians and gay men. The adverts are insulting to LGBT Londoners and damaging for everyone who believes London is the greatest city in the world because of its tolerance.”
Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick said, “From personal experience as a gay Christian, I can tell you that it’s much better to be out than in. We should be celebrating the diversity for which London is known for, not denegrating it.”
In an email statement to LGBTQ Nation, Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said, “It’s sad that any self-styled ‘Christian’ group promotes voodoo ‘gay cure therapy,’ which has been discredited by the BACP, the UK’s leading professional body for counseling psychotherapists.”
“Life would be much easier if these organizations just admitted that they don’t like gay people,” Summerskill said.