Billy Graham The BGEA successfully sued the Scottish event’s campus (SEC) after the sheriff determined they were victims of discrimination.
Franklin Graham70, was set to appear in the Glasgow The venue on 30 May 2020 as part of a UK tour.
Read more: Franklin Graham: Controversial American preacher is suing the SEC
But the event at the Hydro Arena was canceled in January 2020 due to security concerns.
BGEA alleged that the SEC violated the Equality Act by not allowing Graham to perform.
The organization initially chased £200,000 in compensation or have Graham work pursuant to a July 2019 contract.
A civil hearing at Glasgow Sheriff’s Court was told that BGEA was due to appear at six more venues in the UK.
Other venues have canceled their reservations while four have rescheduled.
BGEA paid the Saudi Electricity Authority £6,000 to rent the Hydro yard in the city which would have cost £50,000.
The “private” event was to be a ticketless event where members of the public could enter for free.
The event was described as “an evangelical outreach event to embrace and promote a religion or philosophical belief”.
In his closing remarks, Sheriff John McCormick stated, “The target audience was the general public, regardless of any religious belief or nothing and regardless of gender.”
The SEC became aware of opposition to the event in November 2019 through the press, social media, and emails.
Mr Graham also became aware of the backlash, which was posted on Facebook: “Some have said I’m coming to the UK to give hate speech to your community. It’s not true.”
He added that he had invited “everyone in the LGBTQ community” to the event. He concluded, “You’re very welcome.”
Preparations were made to cancel the event on 28 January 2020 with the Head of Public Relations of the SEC telling Glasgow City Council: “We have taken the decision not to proceed with this”.
The decision to cancel was delayed until the next day after a meeting with city council members including Leader Susan Aitken and former president Frank McAvite.
Sheriff McCormick stated: “At that meeting the view of Glasgow City Council was conveyed to all present in no uncertain terms that the event should be cancelled.”
Minutes of the meeting show that comments were made such as “there was a measure of the message preached that was darker than seen before”, “we might be in breach contractually” and “it’s about ‘doing the right thing’ despite the contractual position” .
Miss Aitken told the court proceedings: “My greatest concern, and I believe the factor which was ultimately the most decisive for me, was in adopting the view that the event should be canceled because I believed – not only the expression of opinions, but also the knowledge or expectation that opinions might be expressed.” well or expressed, which will have real-world consequences for people in Glasgow.”
It was also revealed that Hydro’s main sponsor did not want to be associated with the event and there were concerns that artists might refuse to play at the arena as a result of the event.
Glasgow City Council, as the majority shareholder of the venue, contacted the SEC requesting that the event be cancelled.
The letter did not mention security concerns.
No security concerns were raised with BGEA, the police or G4S at the time.
The termination letter to BGEA also failed to mention security concerns.
It stated, “negative publicity” that has been “reviewed with our partners and stakeholders.”
Sheriff McCormick said: “The event was canceled due to the religious or philosophical beliefs of BGEA and Franklin Graham as viewed by the SEC’s reaction by others to the religious or philosophical beliefs professed by BGEA and/or Franklin Graham.
By terminating the agreement, the SEC discriminated directly against BGEA in that it treated them less favorably than it would have treated others.
“SEC has hosted other religious events but here terminated their agreement due to a protected characteristic, the religious or philosophical beliefs of BGEA and Franklin Graham.
I acted under pressure from others.”
BGEA lost a total of £97,325.32 as a result of the cancellation of the event which Sheriff McCormick ordered the SEC to pay.
He said, “The Equality Law applies to everyone equally, and it is a law that aims to protect basic rights and freedoms in a pluralistic society.
“This applies to the LGBTQ+ community as it does to the community of religions (including Christianity) and none of them.
It follows from this that in respect of the protected characteristic (religion or philosophical belief) no section of society can discriminate against those with whom it disagrees.
Whether others agree with or disagree with the BGEA or even, as submitted on behalf of the BGEA, the views of the pursuer or Franklin Graham are irrelevant for the purposes of this resolution.
“This applies even when, as I have heard evidence, members of the Christian community may not agree with the pursuer. The court does not rule on the validity of religious or philosophical beliefs.”
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