Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Core Issues Trust loses again in the London bus adverts case


This case was previously reported in January: Court of Appeal rules on London bus adverts case.

Further judgement was given today, here is the full text.

Media reports:

Press Association Christians LOSE High Court Bid Claiming Boris Banned Anti-Gay Bus Advert For Political Purposes

BBC Christian activists lose gay bus advert challenge

Christian activists have lost a High Court bid for a ruling that London Mayor Boris Johnson was personally responsible for an improper and “politically-motivated” ban on a controversial gay advert on buses. Campaign group Core Issues Trust (CIT) accused him of an abuse of power and imposing the ban for “the nakedly political purpose of currying favour with gay lobby groups” and boosting his re-election campaign in 2012.

The Trust advert that never made it to the sides of buses in the capital read: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” It was meant to be a response to posters promoted by lesbian and gay campaigners Stonewall that said: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”. Those did appear on buses.

But CIT’s judicial review action, brought over Transport for London’s April 2012 decision not to allow the group’s advertisment to appear on the outside of its buses, was dismissed by a judge in London today. Announcing her conclusions, Mrs Justice Lang declared: “Mr Johnson was not motivated by an improper purpose, namely, to advance his Mayoral election campaign.”

Guardian Diary: The Christian Legal Centre racks up another defeat

Press releases and commentary from the losing side:

High Court judgment in ‘London Bus Ad’ case

Core Issues Trust statement on High Court ruling in ‘London Bus Ad’ case

Which is it? Did Boris mislead the media or the High Court?

Big Boris: Doublespeaking on the London buses.

Christian Legal Centre Client Libby Powell comments on High Court judgment in ‘London Bus Ad’ case

Law & Religion UK now has this: ‘Ex-gay’ London bus advert ban not improper use of Mayor’s power

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 at 11:05pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: equality legislation

Personally speaking I am very pleased with this ruling which brings some very much needed common sense and realism to this case.

TfL and the Mayor have obligations under the Equality Act. Accusing a politician of trying to be popular (subject to some constraints) is simply perverse in a democracy based on politicians trying to be popular - that kind of is the whole point of the system we live in.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 12:04am BST

It seems that Mr Diamond missed a trick and would have had more luck if he had pressed other buttons.
Is the judge telling us here that Mr Diamond isn't up to scratch?

In any case, she confirms her previous complaints about lack of care and consultation, complains that Mr Diamond makes too little of it, but says there was nothing improper.

Hysteria from Andrea, but then you can expect little else from that quarter. She has only recently emerged from an imposed purdah after her support for recriminalising gay people.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 12:26am BST

Regardless of what you think about the message, from a communications point of view it was a poor advert. Stonewall's was spot on, spare and to the point and will have had its effect. The Core Issues proposed response was cluttered and incoherent and would have had people scratching their heads in confusion. Check it out again and ask yourself what it actually means. What for instance are they urging people to 'get over'? The BBC report takes it that they are urging gay people to 'get over' being gay ('The adverts claimed people could 'get over' homosexuality') but what Core Issues seem to be saying is that they want people generally to 'get over' their view that some gay people don't want to be gay any more and have chosen to be not gay. Or something. Hence the convoluted sentence in their statement about the 'cruelty' of not being allowed to hold and express this opinion. I guess the incoherence is really down to the fact that Core Issues know they can't say what they truly want to say. Any old way, it's a good thing the adverts didn't run.

Posted by: Jane Charman on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 8:01am BST

Am I alone in hoping that, if Andrea Minchiello Williams is re-emerging from her purdah, that, the next time she graces our TV screens to comment on some matter, she will immediately be asked to comment on her reported remarks in Jamaica earlier this year about recriminalising homosexuality?

I do not think she should be allowed to get away with what she said.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 8:20am BST

It seems to me that the Core Issues ad was designed to give offence. Consider the words - Not Gay Proud Of It.

Imagine saying Not Jewish Proud Of It. Thousands of LBGT people across London would have been offended by this ad. TfL were right to ban it. Boris was right to do what he did.

If Core Issues want to try again. Go for it. They will be banned again if they give offence.

Posted by: Paul McMichael on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 11:55am BST

Has Paul Diamond ever won a case? He and the CLC must be some sort of tax loss scheme or something, as every case they bring, they lose.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 4:17pm BST

Therapies with a poor success rate and serious risk of harm to clients should not be advertised on London buses. This is not some great infringement of liberty, whatever the Core Issues Trust might say, but a basic public health issue.

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 12:08am BST

It would seem that 'Core Issues' has little real substance to commend its protestations against the right of LGBT people to exist. Cor lummy!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 1:10am BST

Since 'Core issues' and the Christian Legal Centre keep on losing these cases one has to wonder why they carry on, and indeed who is funding them.

Setting aside their rather hysterical response to their losing the case the other interesting is their new statement 'Core Issues Trust supports freedom of choice and LGBT dignity'. It is interesting to see this change of tactics at work. Perhaps they have at last realised that the have lost the battle for LGBTI equality and that their position is rejected by the vast majority including large majorities of Christians. The language has changed. Now they are speaking in terms of equality, freedom of speech and 'Choice'. The fact that the 'reparative therapy' they promote is both harmful to the subject and just doesn't work seems to them to be no reason not to promote it.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 10:04am BST

The truth is that these ads were cheap shots that were aimed at causing a hullabaloo and nothing more.

There is no way that the ads should have been allowed. At best this kind of 'therapy' is controversial and not to be promoted in posters that deliberately imitate the original Stonewall posters promoting acceptance of LGBT people.

Clearly therefore the intent was to create 'balance' by saying 'you've had a pro gay poster, now you have to have an antigay poster and if you don't you're biased against us....' A moment's thought would indicate TfL would not allow such a poster. The Mayor of London, as a politician, could very well foresee the next day's headlines and the tumult that would follow if they were allowed and gave TfL the benefit of his insights in an area that is explicitly his responsibility to do so.

The whole thing was very offensive from the start and intentionally so and I am simply amazed it got as much court time as it did.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 10:20am BST

The judge is practically screaming out "If you'd argued this you might have won" in the ruling. Once again CC argues the wrong thing in court, and what's worse, once again puts out a press release that misleads the reader into what the verdict actually indicated.

Clearly from the evidence presented Boris did NOT formally instruct TfL. If Core Issues had instead argued that the grounds for TfL refusing the advert were not consistently applied to them and Stonewall, it would have made a much more interesting case (and they might have won).

Posted by: Peter Ould on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 3:26pm BST

When this first came up Rowan Williams was just retiring as ABC. I wrote to Boris Johnson suggesting he might apply for the vacancy. He wrote back saying he already had the best job in the world!! Funny man...

Posted by: Fr Paul on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 8:24pm BST

@Savi Hensman: exactly right. I'm surprised the point isn't made more often. The CIT ad was effectively making an unsubstantiated claim about the effectiveness of a therapy. We should not hold quack Christian psychologists to a lower standard than manufacturers of moisturiser.

Posted by: AndrewT on Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 5:33am BST

These repeated legal defeats serve their own purpose: to convey the impression that Christianity and Christians are being 'persecuted'.

The fall guys tend to be the B&B owners etc who get manipulated to pursue their unwinnable cases, with all the public humiliation that then entails.

The defeats in court serve the 'bunker' mentality of a dark and evil world in the end times seeking to crush and persecute the beleaguered remnant of the faithful.

In this Last Days scenario, they may well find financial support from sort of 'Christian Survivalists' in the US.

The key to all these cases is not the individual victories, but sustaining the narrative of a remnant of faithful Christians being ostracised and condemned by an evil and dark world of atheists, evolutionists, and liberals.

The rapture cannot be far behind. These evils are signs of the times, confirming people in their own self-fulfilling prophecies and systems of belief.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 11:20am BST

Perhaps I'm just a jaded, cynical American, but I suspect the CIT is getting exactly what it wants: vast amounts of free publicity. These bus ads, which they have never had to pay to run, have now effectively run world wide and with far more attention than they could have ever grabbed on the sides of London's buses. I'd say congratulations are in order for CIT. They didn't lose, they won.

Posted by: scott on Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 4:17pm BST

Free publicity is only good if it doesn't result in everyone thinking that you're idiots.

Posted by: Jo on Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 6:39pm BST

"These repeated legal defeats serve their own purpose: to convey the impression that Christianity and Christians are being 'persecuted'."

Convey that to those that already believe it, perhaps.

The man or woman in the street knows gay people, and knows that they are decent folk getting on with their lives.

The mowits also knows Christian people, and know that they are neither persecuted nor vile bigots.

So the CIT, etc, lose on both fronts: people won't believe gays to be dangerous, because they know gay people; they won't believe Christians to be persecuted homophobes for the same reason.

Bigoted Christians don't need outside help to look ludicrous anyway.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 9:25pm BST
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