Anti-LGBT+ hate preacher Franklin Graham sues UK venue for £200,000 over cancelled tour
Hate preacher Franklin Graham is suing Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena for £200,000 in damages after organisers axed his rally due to his extreme anti-LGBT+ views.
Graham’s eight-day evangelist tour of the UK was left in tatters when every single venue pulled out amid protests over his anti-LGBT+ comments, which include claiming that same-sex marriage was orchestrated by Satan and queer people are to blame for a “moral 9/11”.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) launched a string of lawsuits in retaliation, starting with the the 14,000-capacity SSE Hydro on Tuesday (16 February).
Appearing in Glasgow Sheriff Court, Graham’s legal team demanded £200,000 to address the “injured feelings” of Franklin Graham’s staff and associates.
“The clear and inescapable truth in this case is that the defender refused and continues to refuse to permit the pursuer to make use of its venue because of the opinion the defender holds about certain views of Franklin Graham,” they told the court.
Lawyers for Graham, 67, claimed that cancelling the event was an “unlawful” breach of the Equality Act 2010. In addition to the £200,000 damages Graham is also calling for a court order to allow him to perform at the SSE Hydro as planned.
“There is no basis or foundation for any suggestion that there was any intention at the event for any comment to be made in relation to either Islam or homosexuality,” his team insisted.
“Aspects of the religious beliefs of the pursuer and of Franklin Graham may now perhaps be regarded in some sections of UK society as controversial.
“The law cannot endorse an outcome whereby a mainstream Christian religious gathering cannot proceed because some members of the community, however vehemently, disagree with religiously based beliefs to which they take objection.”
But the SEC’s legal team argued: “As the event could never have taken place due to COVID-19, there is no basis for any damages to be paid by the defender to the pursuer based upon the purported cancellation of the event.”
Sheriff John McCormick stated that a company cannot claim compensation for the “hurt feelings” of its members, but agreed to consider the claim that cancelling the event was unlawful and a breach of contract.
The hearing continues.