Blackpool Council is fined £109,000 for ‘religious discrimination’ after it removed posters for Christian festival following LGBT social media campaign over organiser’s views on same-sex marriage
Daily Mail 21 July 2021
A council has publicly apologised after it was fined for ‘breaching human rights’ by removing bus adverts for an evangelical Christian event.
Blackpool borough council and its transportation provider ‘discriminated on the ground of religion’ by taking down posters promoting a 2018 event with evangelist Franklin Graham.
Mr Graham, the son of the late American evangelist Billy Graham, is known for his controversial views on same-sex marriage and Islam.
Ahead of an event at the town’s Winter Gardens, the council removed advertisements that read ‘Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham – Time for Hope’.
They had initially them but changed their position after a social media campaign against Mr Graham’s ‘offensive’ opposition to same-sex marriage.
But in April, a Manchester County Court judge ruled removing the ads was a ‘breach of human rights’ on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which organised the festival.
The association received £109,000 in damages from the council, who were also ordered to make a public apology.
‘We accept the findings of the Court that we discriminated against Lancashire Festival of Hope because of the religious beliefs of Franklin Graham and in doing so interfered with Lancashire Festival of Hope’s right to freedom of speech,’ the council said in a statement.
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