The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, intervened to prevent a Christian advertising campaign from promoting the idea that gay people can be converted to heterosexuality.
The advert was due to say: Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!
A few days before the ads were due to appear on buses Johnson ordered his transport chiefs to pull the adverts booked by two Anglican groups following 'outrage' among gay campaigners and politicians saying that they were homophobic. Johnson said:
London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our
The adverts were booked on behalf of the Core Issues Trust whose leader, Mike Davidson, claims homoerotic behaviour is sinful . His charity funds reparative therapy for gay Christians, which it claims can develop their
heterosexual potential . The campaign was also backed by Anglican Mainstream , a worldwide Anglican group.
The Christian groups insisted the advert had been cleared with Transport for London (TfL). Davidson said:
I didn't realise censorship was in place. We went through the correct channels and we were encouraged by the bus company to go through their procedures. They okayed it and now it has been pulled.
CBS Outdoor, the media company that sells the bus advertising sites, said the ad had been passed for display by the Committee of Advertising Practice.
The campaign was an explicit attempt to hit back at the gay rights group Stonewall, which as part of its lobbying for the extension of marriage to gay couples is running its own bus adverts saying: Some people are gay. Get over it. The Christian
groups used the same black, red and white colour scheme as Stonewall and in a statement announcing the campaign accused it of promoting the false idea that there is indisputable scientific evidence that people are born gay .
Update: Asserting the right of freedom of expression to badmouth gays
14th April 2012. Via article
A Christian group which had its advertisement pulled from London buses after it was described as anti-gay has said it is considering legal action.
TfL had said the advert was not consistent with its commitment to a tolerant city.
Anglican Mainstream has instructed a law firm to look at whether Transport for London (TfL) acted illegally when it scrapped the adverts. It said it wanted to know what happened to its contract with TfL for the ads, which implied people could be ex-gay
Tom Ellis from legal firm Aughton Ainsworth said he was going to examine whether the ban was a breach of contract and the group's right to freedom of expression.
Update: Don’t ban it. Get over it!
18th April 2012. See article
by Luke Samuel
The banning of silly Christian bus adverts reveals the contempt in which the mayor holds ordinary Londoners.
Last week, Boris Johnson, the perennially silly mayor of London, announced that he would ban a planned series of posters on London buses which shouted: NOT GAY! EX-GAY, POST-GAY AND PROUD. GET OVER IT! The message was penned by the Christian
campaign group, the Core Issues Trust, which believes that homosexuality is curable through therapy and religious teaching.
...Read the full article
Update: Boris Johnson explains that his advert censorship was all about the politics of avoiding offence and backlashes
It seems that he thought he was doing both sides a favour, preventing gays from being easily offended, and preventing the religious nutters from making an arsehole of themselves.
18th April 2012. See article
Boris Johnson has said that he feared that there would have been an intense backlash if he had allowed a Christian advertising campaign promoting the idea that gay people can be converted to heterosexuality to be plastered on London's buses.
He talked about his decision to censor the posters as he took part in a mayoral debate jointly organised by London Church Leaders, Faith to Engage, and the Evangelical Alliance.
He said that he made his decision not only because he thought an advert which suggested that gay people could be cured was likely to cause great offence , but also because of the possible reverberations for London's Christian community. Hesaid:
The job of mayor is to unite, the job is to stop prejudice, and actually the backlash would be so intense it would not have been in the interest of Christian people in this city.
Ken Livingstone told the audience that the advert would only have served to reinforce prejudice:
In my view Boris was right to pull them.