On Monday, January 27, a court ruled that London Mayor Boris Johnson’s role in the prevention of “ex-gay” adverts on London buses should be further investigated by the High Court.
The Christian charity Core Issues Trust, which created the adverts, appealed, accusing Johnson of using his political power to enforce the ban in order to secure votes.
Gay Star News reported that an email suggested Johnson was the one authorizing the ban on anti-gay bus adverts in 2012, despite Transport for London’s (TfL) director of marketing and communications Vernon Everitt insisting it was his decision.
The email, sent by the Mayor’s Communications Director at the time, Guto Harri, said “Boris has just instructed TfL to pull the adverts [and]I’ve briefed the Guardian [which]will break that news in next half hour.”
According to Everitt, he did not see the email until May 2013, and it did not cause him to change his mind or influence his decision.
However, a senior judge and Master of the Rolls, Sir John Dyson, said in his ruling: “There is now in evidence an email which unequivocally states that the Mayor instructed TfL to pull the advertisement.”
He then added, “[This] shows that the Mayor’s office contacted the Guardian immediately in order to make political capital out of the story.”
Previous hearings, in March 2013, were presented without access to the email evidence.
The “ex-gay” advert originally featured the line: “Not Gay! Ex Gay, Post Gay and Proud. Get over it!” which was a direct response to Stonewall’s “Some People are Gay. Get over it!” ad campaign.
Like Stonewall’s campaign, they were to appear, on London buses, but were banned as Johnson considered the adverts “offensive to gays.”
According to the Core Issues Trust’s website, they are “a non-profit Christian ministry supporting men and women with homosexual issues who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression. It respects the rights of individuals who identify as ‘gay’ who do not seek change, and supports dignity for LGBT persons.”
The charity called the news of further investigation a “significant victory.”
A bill seeking a ban on “gay cure” therapies in the UK is due to be read in the House of Commons on Tuesday, January 28.