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Controversial but not unlawful

In a High Court ruling a controversial advert to have been displayed on buses in the capital has been deemed not unlawful.
Core Issue Trust, a Christian charity behind the adverts that suggested that gay people could be helped to “move out of homosexuality” brought the case against Transport for London, and in particular the TfL’s chairman, Mayor Boris Johnson, saying he was politically driven by imposing a ban on the advert.
The advert read: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” which was in response to an earlier, similar campaign by gay campaigning group Stonewall when adverts on the sides of buses read “Some People Are Gay – Get Over It”.

At the time of the proposed CIT advert Boris Johnson was campaigning for re-election and condemned the “gay cure” ad as “offensive to gays”. CIT were of the opinion that his stance was purely political and contravened TfL’s own code of procedures with regards to advertising.
Mrs Justice Lang, sitting at London’s High Court, said that TfL’s process in introducing the ban “was procedurally unfair, in breach of its own procedures and demonstrated a failure to consider the relevant issues”.
But that was outweighed by factors against allowing the ad, including that it would “cause grave offence” to those who were gay and was perceived as homophobic, “thus increasing the risk of prejudice and homophobic attacks”.
Welcoming the court ruling, a spokeswoman for the transport body said: “The advertisement clearly breached our advertising policy as it contained a controversial message and was likely to cause widespread offence to the public.”
However, the judge revealed her concern over the issues raised by the case by giving Core Issues permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.