The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will get a $150,000 payout from Blackpool Council in Britain, ending a two year battle over canceled bus advertisements for an event featuring its CEO, Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the famed evangelist.
Christian Today reported the advertisements for the Lancashire Festival of Hope ran on local buses but were removed because of Graham’s traditional views on marriage. It followed a social media campaign by local LGBT activists.
The council, however, admitted it was wrong and agreed to pay the festivals legal costs plus damages, the news outlet reported.
The settlement was reached after an April ruling from Manchester County Court that, in removing the ads, Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport Services violated the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act, Christian Today reported.
After reaching the settlement, attorney Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, issued an apology in which she said lessons had been learned.
“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,” she said, Christian Today reported. We sincerely apologize to the organizers of the event for the upset and inconvenience caused.”
“We have learnt from this experience,” the statement added, the news outlet reported, adding: “We have now introduced clear and transparent policies that will ensure no repeat of events such as these.”
Franklin Graham told the news outlet he was pleased by the settlement.
“This is an important moment for religious freedom in the UK,” he said, the news outlet reported. “We’re grateful to God for the final outcome of this case, and for what it will mean for churches and Christians across the UK in the years ahead.
“The Good News of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed. My prayer is that this case will encourage Christians to stand firm.”
According to the U.K.-based Pink News, an online news outlet for the LGBT community, the settlement was the latest in a number of lawsuits Graham has filed across Britain after his evangelist tour was dropped.
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