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Anti-LGBT+ preacher Franklin Graham wins religious discrimination case against English town

Lily Wakefield April 2, 2021
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Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham speaks at the Republican National Convention on 27 August, 2020. (Getty/ Drew Angerer)

Anti-LGBT+ preacher Franklin Graham, who said gay people “steal” children, has won his two-year legal against Blackpool, England, after his ads were removed from the sides of buses.

The anti-LGBT+ evangelical, son of homophobe Billy Graham and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, paid for adverts on buses in Blackpool in 2018 to promote his “Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham”.

When Blackpool Transport was made aware of his extremist beliefs, the company pulled Graham’s ads from their buses.

In response, Graham began legal proceedings against Blackpool Borough Council and the transport company, claiming that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association had been discriminated against on the basis of religious belief.

Now, two years later, a judge has ruled in Franklin Graham’s favour.

Judge Claire Evans ruled that the defendants had “discriminated on the ground of religion against the claimant”.

Evans wrote in her 35-page judgement that the council “demonstrated an aversion and opposition to the particular religious beliefs of Franklin Graham, and a partiality for the opposing view”, and added: “The defendants had a wholesale disregard for the right to freedom of expression possessed by the claimant.

“It gave a preference to the rights and opinions of one part of the community without having any regard for the rights of the claimant or those who shared its religious beliefs.”

According to The Herald, James Barrett, chairman of the association board, said in a statement that the ruling was “one of the most comprehensive judicial rebukes of cancel culture in the UK”.

He added: “It is a significant day for religious liberty and freedom of speech.

“The court clearly affirmed that Christians and other people of faith who publicly express traditional religious views about marriage and human sexuality are protected by law.”

Franklin Graham said: “We thank God for this ruling because it is a win for every Christian in the UK.”

In a joint statement, the council and Blackpool Transport said they remained committed “to promoting equality and diversity, eliminating discrimination and increasing respect, tolerance and understanding throughout our community” following the ruling.

Graham preached at Donald Trump’s inauguration, and has previously claimed that LGBT anti-discrimination laws will mean that “your children, and your grandchildren will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts”, branded an inclusive sex education course as “like Sodom and Gomorrah”, and claimed there had been a “moral 9/11” in America due to homosexuality  and has declared that gay people are “the enemy” of civilisation.

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