Friday, 13 April 2012

Anti-gay adverts pulled from bus campaign by Boris Johnson

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. Just days before the posters were due to appear on buses in the capital, Johnson ordered his transport chiefs to pull the adverts booked by two conservative Anglican groups following outrage among gay campaigners and politicians saying that they were homophobic. The adverts were booked on behalf of the Core Issues Trust whose leader, Mike Davidson, believes "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 orthodox Anglican group whose supporters have equated homosexuality with alcoholism. The advert was due to say: "Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!" Johnson, who contacted the Guardian to announce he was stopping the adverts within two hours of their contents becoming public, 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 buses." His main rival in next month's mayoral election, Ken Livingstone, said Johnson should never have allowed the adverts to be booked. "London is going backwards under a Tory leadership that should have made these advertisements impossible. "They promote a falsehood, the homophobic idea of 'therapy' to change the sexual orientation of lesbians and gay men." The Christian groups insisted the advert had been cleared with Transport for London (TfL), which is chaired by the mayor. 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. It is understood TfL was due to make around £10,000 for allowing the adverts to run on about two dozen buses across five routes. 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". The gay ex-vicar, Labour MP and former minister Chris Bryant, said the advert was cruel for promoting the idea that you could become "ex-gay" and he said it would particularly hurt teenagers struggling to come to terms with their sexuality. "The emotional damage that is done to the individuals who try to suppress their sexuality, the women they marry and the children they might have is immeasurable," he said. "Most sane Christians believe that homosexuality is not a lifestyle or a choice but is a fact to be discovered or not. The pretence that homosexuality is something you can be weaned off in some way is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of creation." Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, said the adverts were "clearly homophobic" and added: "The only reason some gay people might want to stop being gay is because of the prejudice of the people who are publishing the ad. "The promotion of this voodoo therapy is hugely irresponsible given the damage that it appears to do to some people." Both men said the advert should not be banned, however, because they believed in freedom of speech. Attempts to "treat" or alter sexual orientation have been strongly condemned by leading medical organisations. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has warned that "so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish" and concluded in 2010: "There is no sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed." The British Medical Association has also attacked "conversion therapy", a related field to reparation therapy, passing a motion asserting that it is "discredited and harmful to those 'treated' ". The Rev Lynda Rose, a spokesperson for the UK branch of Anglican Mainstream, said her group adhered to scripture that all fornication outside marriage is prohibited and believed that homosexuals were "not being fully the people God intended us to be". She said therapies endorsed by Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues were not coercive and were appropriate for people who wanted to change their sexual attractions, for example if they were married and worried about the impact of a "gay lifestyle" on their children. The decision to pull the adverts is being seen as a potential boost for conservative Christian organisations attempting to become more politically active in the UK. "Banning this is usually a fairly good way to encourage a sense that people are being marginalised and persecuted," said Simon Barrow, co-founder of the Ekklesia thinktank which has tracked the progress of what it calls aggressive conservative Christianity. "It could be part of a developing tactic to draw attention to themselves and a way of using victimhood to galvanise sympathy and support." Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, said: "From personal experience as a gay Christian, I can tell you that it's much better to be out than in. We should be celebrating the diversity for which London is known, not denigrating it. Revelations about the adverts came as Johnson was due to appear at a hustings organised by Stonewall on Saturday. • The original version of this article stated that 'the ad had been passed for display by the Committee of Advertising Practice and it complied with Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines'. In fact the ASA does not pre-clear adverts and had nothing to do with the decision to pass the advert. The article has been amended to reflect this and to also remove a subsequent quote misattributed to the ASA.

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(1) and on Christmas shoppers (1) and uses cash instead of credit cards (1) arrested over knifed pregnant teenager (1) average amount stolen equated to £1 (1) blasted 11 shots at helpless Eddie Boyd - hitting him five times - as his young daughter screamed in terror. (1) but the Navy boat crews recovered two (1) cannabis and weapons were seized by police who raided 25 houses and apartments. (1) central Clydebank (1) central London (1) charged with murder in Great Yarmouth: (1) checks into hotels under false names (1) corrupt police officer helped his drug lord brother by hiding guns and threatening witnesses (1) death of Julian Gardner (1) discovered a world where automatic pistols (1) drag cabaret (1) drugs squad found 13 mature and 35 immature plants (1) dundee-united-stars-david-goodwillie-scott-allan-arrested-after-4am-street-brawl (1) dyes his hair (1) family friendship leads to second murder investigation (1) five Italian gangsters - known locally as the Camorra - are seen sweeping into a restaurant while families are eating before marching up to a corner table where their targets are sitting. (1) fled a club soaked in blood and clutching a 6in wound (1) flew the plane but says he did not know drugs were on board. (1) former girlfriend of gunman Raoul Moat has told a court of the moment the killer shot dead her new boyfriend then turned his shotgun on her (1) found stabbed to death (1) four (1) from Ballygonney Road West In Moneymore were refused bail. (1) from Brixton Hill (1) from Deramore Gardens in Belfast and Warren Martin (1) from Fulham (1) from Moss Lane (1) from Plymouth (1) from Rushey Hey (1) from Tottenham (1) gang drugs war in Greater Manchester. (1) gangland crime in Limerick (1) gangs have shaped the streets and changed the nature of UK crime (1) grieving father of a student who was raped and murdered pleaded with her suspected killer to give himself up (1) had caused 'a great deal of harassment (1) has been charged with importing a class B drug. (1) has made a new and lengthy statement to police (1) have been accused of killing Mr Yepez (1) he claimed he was one of the main players in north London and could get hold of better weapons than Scotland Yard (1) heroin worth nearly £2 million was seized in a single drugs bust in the Scottish capital (1) highest rates of teenage alcohol-related injuries in Europe (1) highlight London's crime rate and youth alcohol problems (1) his brother Ronnie and notorious English serial killer Graham Young escaping from prison. (1) imprisonment of a woman in Wales for withdrawing rape allegations against her husband is a nightmarish addition to the discrimination awaiting women and girls who seek justice (1) in January. (1) in his mid-40s (1) including some in Rochdale (1) is due to appear at South Western Magistrates' Court in Battersea this morning (1) is the first Western on trial in an Iraqi court since a 2009 U.S.-Iraqi security agreement lifted immunity for foreign contractors. (1) jail terms totalling more than 63 years to William Byrne and 14 crooks linked to his gang. (1) just months (1) known locally as Eddie (1) made more than £1m from crime. He must pay £100 (1) major rural crime wave could break out across Wales (1) man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a man who was shot dead in south Manchester. (1) man has been shot dead by an off-duty police officer during a suspected robbery at a petrol station. (1) man in his 20s has been arrested over the murder of a champion kickboxer in Dundalk (1) moved to Thailand in 2006 to study the deadly Muay Thai fighting style (1) murdering honeymooner Anni Dewani in Cape Town (1) night-time signalling between vessels at sea and people on the shore (1) of Ansty Road (1) of Clapham (1) of Common Road (1) of Forest Gate (1) of Haig Avenue (1) of Hapton (1) of Looe (1) of Mount Avenue (1) of Oxford Road (1) of Pennyvoss Road (1) of Queen Street (1) of School Lane (1) often borrowed from friends (1) on 3 January when he was shot in the chest. (1) prison officer has been arrested after attempting to smuggle drugs into Mountjoy prison today. (1) seized 180 kilograms of ketamine in Felixstowe (1) seized a haul of scam post in a bid to tackle the UK-wide fraudulent mail blight. (1) seven men and five women found Hodgson guilty of murder at Teesside Crown Court. (1) sleeps on sofas and floors (1) south Kilmarnock and Dalkeith in Midlothian (1) stabbed both his parents to death after his mother called him a “f------ idiot” for lying in bed all morning with a hangover. (1) submachine guns and even hand grenades were being sold for as little as £50 (1) taxi firm has been denied an operator’s licence following police claims of criminal links (1) teenager was killed and another injured when two balaclava-wearing gunmen opened fire on a group of four young friends (1) the Gilnow Road gang (1) the eldest son of Viscount Trenchard (1) the famous fashion designer recently committed suicide by intake of a mixture of the cocaine (1) three dogs performing searches on vehicles entering the 14 jails across the Republic. (1) using guns in deadly drug disputes (1) was ambushed by four young men at the gates of Park Campus School in nearby West Norwood. (1) was arrested at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (1) was arrested by UK Border Agency officers in Coquelles (1) was blasted at least three times outside a relative’s home in South Cantril Avenue (1) was convicted in 2003 of hiring two “mules” to carry cocaine (1) was given three life sentences earlier this month. (1) was given three years and nine months behind bars after police found £1 million from the heist in the boot of his car. (1) was released after several hours of questioning over the shooting of Nicky Ayers (1) was shot at close range at least three times outside his daughter’s home in South Cantril Avenue (1) was shot dead in Tillingbourne Gardens (1) was sitting in a silver Volvo on Utting Avenue (1) were ambushed as they were driven through the vast shantytown of Gugulethu in South Africa (1) were among 13 men from around the country involved in the criminal group. (1) were found in 24 of the 33 pubs in and around Alnwick (1) were gunned down outside Strang House (1) were not legally married. (1) were part of a gang that brought in an estimated 16 tonnes of the drug. (1) which is in liquidation (1) who 'fired shots in party battle' arrested for attempted murder (1) who attended the hearing (1) who has already been sentenced to life imprisonment for the two killings (1) who reached No 3 in April with I Need You Tonight (1) whose ring nickname was Pitbull (1) wife of BA pilot vanishes from £3million B;B mansion (1) will be extradited over the murder of Kinga Legg (1) you can never move on with your life.'" (1) young boy has been shot dead. (1) £100m cocaine gang sentenced to 200 years in prison (1) £48k seized from Amsterdam passenger (1) £6m of drugs seized from Lancashire's streets (1) ‘Sick’ Dewani’s bail strategy (1) “Fragile” Shrien Dewani leaves hospital (1)

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