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Christian group files suit seeking removal of pro-gay ads from London buses

Thursday, October 17, 2013
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LONDON — An anti-gay Christian group which advocates for gay-to-straight conversion therapy has lodged a legal challenge against a London transportation company for displaying advertisements that read “Some People Are Gay, Get Over It!”

The Core Issues Trust has filed suit in the British capital city’s High Court in an attempt to force removal of several hundred advertisements placed by Stonewall UK, Britain’s largest LGBT rights organization.

Stonewall UK bas advertisements

Stonewall UK bus advertisements

The Trust is claiming that Transport for London and Stonewall UK are ignoring a ruling by the High Court last March, that allowed for the appellate process to proceed in a case brought by the Trust after Transport for London refused to accept ads countering Stonewall UK’s message.

The Trust’s ads read: “Not Gay. Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” Mayor of London Boris Johnson had ordered Transport for London to pull the campaign before it could run.

At the time, the mayor said, “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.”

A judge ruled that while Johnson had not abused his position as chairman of Transport for London when he banned the Core Trust campaign, the judge noted that the process in introducing the ban was procedurally unfair, in breach of its own procedures and demonstrated a failure to consider the relevant issues.

However, the judge also said allowing Trust’s ads could “cause grave offense” to those who were gay and was perceived as homophobic, thus increasing the risk of prejudice and homophobic attacks.

The Trust appealed the decision earlier this summer, while Stonewall UK resumed its “Some People Are Gay, Get Over It!” campaign.

Dr. Michael Davidson, founder of Core Issues Trust, filed the lawsuit asking for an injunction against Stonewall UK’s ads until the appeal is heard.

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“I feel that Stonewall and the defendant are deliberately flouting the rulings of the court by renewing their advertisement campaign on buses which was clearly prohibited by the earlier judgment.” Davidson said. “Until such time when we have the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the defendant should not have allowed Stonewall’s advertisement to reappear on their buses.”

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall UK’s executive director, responded: “It does seem a tragedy that these people who make so much noise about being Christian don’t spend a little more of their money on tackling polio or Third World poverty but a lot of money on slightly frivolous legal actions.”

A spokesperson for Transport for London said Thursday the ads “are in line with our advertising policy.”

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