Scotland court: venue violated Equality Act by canceling Graham event

by Jacob Fuller

Jacob Fuller, FISM News


A court in Scotland ruled on Monday that a venue must pay more than $111,000 for canceling a Franklin Graham event in pre-COVID 2020 due to the evangelist’s Christian views.

Sheriff John McCormick of Glasgow, Scotland issued the judgment, ruling that Scottish Event Campus Limited (SECL) violated the U.K.’s Equality Act when it canceled the event.

In the ruling, McCormick wrote that the venue “discriminated against the [Billy Graham Evangelistic Association] on the basis of a protected characteristic.”

“Briefly put, if it is correct that the event was evangelistic, based on religion or philosophical belief, then it follows that the decision to cancel was a breach of the Equality Act 2010 in that the event was canceled as a commercial response to the views of objectors.”

McCormick issued damages due to the cancellation valued at $111,503.19.

… I heard no evidence to suggest that Franklin Graham had intended to pursue a toxic or dangerous agenda at the event. On the contrary, it is not disputed that the event would have been an evangelical outreach event for up to twelve thousand people.  That is not to say that his opinions are not offensive to some whether in Glasgow or elsewhere. However, the pursuer’s right to engage a speaker at the evangelical event – in furtherance of a religious or philosophical belief – is protected by law.

The ruling went on to state that SECL leaders chose between opinions, and silenced the one they did not prefer.

“The effect of the decision to terminate the agreement was that the defender preferred the opinions of the objectors to those of the pursuer and by terminating the agreement, silenced them,” the ruling states.

Multiple venues in the U.K. canceled BGEA events that were part of the BGEA’s “God Loves You” tour prior to the pandemic in 2020, the Christian Post reported. The organization rescheduled the events, which took place earlier this year.

The venues canceled the events due to backlash aimed at Graham’s opposition to homosexuality and outspoken opposition to Islam.

The Robertson Trust, a Scottish charity, offered an apology earlier this year for violating the Equality Act by canceling a BGEA event. The group paid about $26,500 towards legal expenses as part of a settlement.