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Britain’s High Court says London mayor acted lawfully in banning anti-gay ads

Friday, March 22, 2013

LONDON — Britain’s High Court ruled Friday that the mayor of London acted lawfully when he banned bus ads from a Christian group suggesting that homosexuality can be cured.

A Christian charity had challenged mayor Boris Johnson’s decision, as chair of London’s transport authority, to ban ads declaring: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it.”

Competing ads: Stonewall UK’s message (top) that “some people are gay;” Core Issues Trust’s ad (below) that some people are “ex-gay” and proud.

The advertisements by the group Core Issues Trust claimed that gays could be “reoriented” through prayer and therapy, and were banned by Johnson in April 2012.

Johnson called the group’s message “clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from.”

In Friday’s ruling, Judge Beverley Lang said the ad would have caused “grave offense” to many people, and increased “the risk of prejudice and homophobic attacks.”

“My conclusion is that (Transport for London’s) decision was justified and proportionate in pursuit of the legitimate aim of protecting the rights of others,” she said.

“In order to give effect to the primary right of freedom of expression in a democratic society, those who wish to promote an offensive or controversial message should be entitled to do so,” the judge said. “In my view, it is proportionate to ask those people to express those views in a way other than by advertising on buses in a major city.”

Among his responsibilities as mayor, Johnson oversees Transport for London, which is responsible for approving advertising on buses in the city.

The charity’s lawyer, Paul Diamond, told the court the ads were in response to an earlier campaign by Stonewall UK, Britain’s leading LGBT advocacy group, which read, “Some people are gay. Get over it!”

He argued the trust was equally entitled to express its view on the sides of buses.

The judge conceded the charity had an “arguable” case on human rights grounds, and gave it permission to appeal. She said the case raised freedom of speech issues that were of “fundamental importance.”

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20 more reader comments:

  1. Love it!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:13pm
  2. Everybody has a right to express their feelings. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:13pm
  3. its good that they banned lies; you cant be “cured” of being gay; its not a disease

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:14pm
  4. Freedom of speech doesn’t include spreading misinformation about so called conversion therapy that has been proven to be detrimental.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:15pm
  5. Advertising ex-gay therapy (which, let’s face it, it fucking is) is a breach of advertising laws. So shut the fuck up about freedom of speech, you moron.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:16pm
  6. Good decision by the high court. It is disturbing that the ads were allowed be be placed on buses in the first place. Christians really do need to get over their issues with gays.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:18pm
  7. Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:18pm
  8. I am all for freedom of speech, unless it harms others, some opinions need to be kept to themselfs

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:21pm
  9. @Kimberly even freedom of speech has it’s limits. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre. This ads weren’t just offensive, they were harmful. If they wanted to put up an ad in opposition to the original ads, why didn’t they just make ads that said “Some people aren’t gay. Get over it!”?

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:21pm
  10. The bottom photo has been photoshopped :/ I don’t know why…

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:22pm
  11. Boris Johnson is about the only Conservative on the planet that I can say I like.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:22pm
  12. Christians apparently believe god created everyone, that is, except for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:22pm
  13. and ex gay therapy is just stupid you cannot cure the gay or trans away

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:23pm
  14. I wonder if they can cure straight???

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:23pm
  15. Why not have straight reparative therapy? It’s equally ridiculous!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:30pm
  16. Their “curing” is just the modern-day burning solution they had so many years ago.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:31pm
  17. You can’t “pray away the gay ” all you can do is make people closeted and ashamed.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:52pm
  18. LOVE the UK for this. USA needs to catch the f*ck up already.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 1:49pm
  19. HAHAHAHAHA. What does ex-gay and post-gay even mean? They don’t make sense to me.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 1:56pm
  20. - They both mean “in propaganda-enabled denial”….partly based on the fallacy that sexual orientation and ability to /engage/ in sexual intercourse/reproduction have any exclusionary dependency upon each other.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:36pm