At the end of last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson banned anti-gay ads booked by a Christian group for the sides of the city’s buses, and now the group is considering taking legal action. The posters read: “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!” The group claims that therapy can change the sexual orientation of a person.
These ads had been booked by Core Issues Trust and backed by Anglican Mainstream, an international group that’s committed to the traditional sense of marriage, family and human sexuality. It’s believed this ad campaign was a hit at gay rights group Stonewall, whose bus-featured ads read: “Some people are gay. Get over it.” Core Issues’ posters were due to run for two weeks on the sides of about 24 buses. It would have been featured on main routes in London, including those around Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, St Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square.
After the anti-gay ads were pulled, Anglican Mainstream got in touch with solicitors to find out if the ban was legal. This is because Transport for London (TfL) had cleared the campaign before Johnson intervened. Aughton Ainsworth lawyer Tom Ellis said that he was contacted by the group with the consideration of taking legal action against the authority since the ad had already been given the go ahead from its Committee of Advertising Practice. Now he is seeking an explanation from TfL to justify the ban. He adds that there seems to be decision that can be challenged. The Advertising Standards Authority also cleared the campaign.
The ad campaign was pulled by Johnson after it was described as homophobic. In a statement last week, he said that the capital is one of the world’s most tolerant cities, as well as intolerant of intolerance. The ads were clearly offensive in suggesting that being gay is an illness that someone can recover from. He’s not ready to have this suggestion riding across the city on their buses.
Mike Davidson, the co-director of Core Issues, has slammed the decision to pull the ads. He says he didn’t know censorship was in place. They went through the right channels and were encouraged by the bus firm to go through its procedures. The campaign was given approval, and now it’s been pulled. He would like to know what basis this has been decided on.
Davidson added that he is deeply concerned that there can only be a single point-of-view, which is of individuals who are driven to push gay marriage through and believe homosexuality can’t be changed at all. This view isn’t held by everyone, and this incident is a disturbing development and a disappointment that the UK is in this position.
However, Stonewall spokesman Andy Wasley welcomed the decision to pull the ads. It’s great that no campaign will promote gay-cure therapy in the British capital, he added. Chief executive Ben Summerskill has called the ads homophobic. He says the only reason some people may want to change their homosexuality is due to the prejudice of ads like this that are published. It’s irresponsible to promote therapy that can damage the lives of some people.
The therapy used by Core Issues to alter or treat sexual orientation has been strongly condemned by leading health organisations. The British Medical Association says it’s harmful and has discredited the treatment, while the Royal College of Psychiatrists warns that it creates a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.
Author's Google+ page