Monday, February 25, 2013

World News

Christian Activists Claim London Mayor Stifling Free Speech Over Ex-Gay Messages On City Buses
From Stonewall UK London bus advertising campaign 
LONDON, UK -- A christian group that promotes ex-gay therapy, the Core Issues Trust, announced Monday that it will sue the Lord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, over his banning of the group's advertisements advocating such therapy on London buses and in the city's transportation hubs. Johnson, in his ban last April, referred to the group's message saying that "it is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from."
The adverts proposed had read; “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” and was in response to a previous advert-poster campaign by Stonewall UK, Britain's LGBT equality rights group, which read: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”
Dr Mike Davidson, the founder of Core Issues, who had his membership in British Psychodrama Association (BPA) revoked over his support for the controversial technique, told the British press that his supporters will go to London's High Court to claim that the Lord Mayor's ban on their advert campaign should be reversed on the grounds that he unlawfully stifled free speech. Part of his responsibilities as mayor means that Johnson oversees Transport for London, which is responsible for approving advertising on buses in the city.
Davidson argues that since other advertising campaigns - including Stonewall’s, and campaigns for underwear - have been allowed by Transport for London, including a 2009 British Humanist Association advert, which some christians found offensive, that read; “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying. And enjoy your life," refusing his group's advert posters was stifling debate and amounted to discrimination.
“This is all about being free to talk about these issues,” said Davidson, who claims has had a homosexual past, but now claims gays can become heterosexual through counselling and prayer. 
“It was a mistake to assume these views we were expressing came from entrenched homophobia, and failed to recognise that people who want to walk away from their homosexual feelings are a group in their own right.”
Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Dr Davidson’s case, said:
“The ban on these advertisements was the beginning of a kind of reverse discrimination which threatens to obliterate debate in the public sphere.
“Boris Johnson needs to realise his mistake and ensure there is freedom for all in the marketplace of ideas. He cannot prefer one group over another.”
A spokesman for Transport of London told The Telegraph:
“The advertisement breached TfL’s advertising policy as in our view it contained a publicly controversial message and was likely to cause widespread offence to members of the public.”