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Gay-ad ban: challenge considered

18 April 2012

by a staff reporter

On the road: one of Stonewall’s bus advertisements

On the road: one of Stonewall’s bus advertisements

ANGLICAN Mainstream has said that it is considering legal action after its bus-advertisements campaign, suggesting that people could become “ex-gay”, was cancelled at the last minute by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Transport for London said that the advertisements were not consistent with its commitment to a tolerant city.

The advertisements had been placed by Anglican Mainstream and another Christian charity, Core Issues Trust, run by Mike Davidson. On his blog, Mr Davidson describes himself as married with two children, but “in conflict with unwanted homo­sexuality”.

The charity works with churches to help them minister to those “who have issues of homosexuality”.

The banned posters — which had been booked to run on buses in central London for two weeks — said: “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!”

The campaign was a response to one run by the gay-rights group Stonewall, whose posters read: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”

In a joint statement this week, Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust said: “We welcome honest, robust debate about origins, development, and therapeutic and other forms of help for those with unwanted same-sex attraction, and are deeply concerned that such debate is continually ruled out of court because it is deemed to be politically incorrect and ‘offensive’.”

The portrayal in some sections of the media that they advocated a “gay cure” was wrong, they said. “We do not believe people are ‘born gay’ — in fact, the science does not support this.

“We have never used the term ‘cure’ because it is inaccurate. People with same-sex attraction can and do develop their heterosexual potential. However, it is a voluntarily taken journey of self-exploration and understanding, not a pill or a prayer (though praying can help). However, if people believe the myth that they were ‘born this way’, then gay demands for marriage appear more reasonable and harder to challenge. That is why this campaign is vitally important.”

The executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, Canon Chris Sugden, said that the publicity over the cancelled advertisements had led to an increased number of calls from people looking for pastoral support and help.

“No one denies that people have same-sex attraction, but it is an experience people can move through. Our concern in all this is pastoral.”

He said that he was “exploring various avenues” of legal challenge to Mr Johnson’s decision.

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