TfL defends its decision to allow Stonewall bus ads

01 November 2013

STONEWALL

TRANSPORT for London (TfL) has defended its decision to allow the gay-rights group Stonewall to advertise on the side of the capital's buses, after the ex-gay group Core Issues Trust (CIT) claimed that TfL was acting in breach of a court judgment.

The CIT had planned to run advertisements on the side of buses in London in April last year, saying: "Not gay! Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it!" The adverts were pulled before they appeared, after the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, described them as "clearly offensive".

Earlier this year, a High Court judge, Mrs Justice Lang, rejected a challenge to the ban (News, 28 March). She said that the CIT advert "encourages discrimination and does not foster good relations or tackle prejudice or promote understanding", and ruled that "TfL would be acting in breach of its duty" if it allowed the advert to appear.

But she rebuked TfL, saying that the way it banned the advertisement was in breach of its own advertising policy, and that its "decision-making process fell below the standards to be expected of a responsible public body".

The judge went on to say that "TfL's decision to exclude the Trust's advertisement was inconsiderate and partial" in light of its willingness to display adverts from Stonewall. She said that a particular Stonewall advertisement "did not comply with TfL's own restrictions", and was "highly offensive to fundamentalist Christians and other religious groups whose religious belief is that homosexuality is contrary to God's teaching".

The CIT will appeal against the judgment at a hearing in December. But it is now criticising TfL after it emerged that Stonewall's advertisement will appear again on London's buses this month.

The Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting CIT, said that it was seeking "an emergency judicial review of TfL's decision to allow Stonewall's adverts to be run [and] an interim injunction pending the hearing in December".

It is not clear whether the Christian Legal Centre has started proceedings, a spokeswomen said. "We're unable to give out any further information at the moment."

TfL defended its position, saying: "The Stonewall advert is in keeping with our advertising guidelines."

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