By Tim Montgomerie
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Earlier today we learnt that a Christian group had decided to purchase adverts on the sides of London buses that promoted therapies that help gay people to become "ex-gays". The ads were a direct response to adverts that have featured prominently in previous months from Stonewall – a charity that promotes homosexual equality. See the two ads below (images taken from Archbishop Cranmer's blog):
Boris Johnson has acted swiftly to prevent the Christian groups' ad campaign. The Guardian has his statement:
"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."
The Mayor could have hidden behind a public order defence. He could have said the ads could mean buses and bus drivers were vulnerable to protest from angry Londoners. Boris didn't and attacked the essential message of the ads.
Matthew d'Ancona has already tweeted his support for the Mayor's decision: "Well done Boris on banning homophobic bus ads. We don't need public transport to take us back in time".
Cranmer won't be impressed. Earlier he defended the message of the "ex-gay" movement:
"The organisers, Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust, say that Stonewall's similar bus campaign, launched to support their ‘equal marriage’ website, implies the false notion that there is indisputable scientific evidence that people are ‘born gay’, and that they have no choice but to affirm their homosexual feelings. They claim that Stonewall's slogan, "Some people are gay. Get over it!" is merely another attempt to close down critical debate about being gay and marriage ‘equality’, and warn that the promotion of homosexual practices to children and young people, many of whom are known to experience ambivalence as they sort through issues of sexual identity, is misleading and dangerous."
More reaction soon.