UK: High Court challenge over banned 'ex-gay' bus advert

28/02/2013
Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-21613433

A ban on a bus advert claiming gay people can be "cured" is to be challenged in the High Court.

The advert was put forward by Christian group Core Issues Trust which promotes therapy for those dealing with unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction.

But Transport for London (TfL) pulled the campaign claiming it breached its advertising policy because it could have caused widespread offence.

An application for a judicial review of TfL's decision will be heard later.

Freedom of expression

The advert was due to appear on 24 London buses as a repost to one by gay rights organisation Stonewall which ran from April reading: "Some people are gay. Get over it!"

The Core Issues Trust advert was due to read: "Not Gay. Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!".

Mike Davidson, co-director of the Core Issues Trust, said: "It causes no more offence than it does to the population being told that whether they want to or not they cannot change and they may not be supported by professional psychotherapists."

A TfL spokesman said: "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.

"This view was borne out by the high number of complaints we received about the ad and the large number of negative comments on social media and newspaper websites."

Matthew Ryder QC who specialises in human rights, including freedom of expression, said it was a classic example of someone's freedom of expression being pitted against someone's right not to be offended.

"Freedom of expression includes speaking in a way which offends people," he said.


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