Govt ‘sorry’ over Christian group conference ban
Fri, 23 Jan 2015
A Christian organisation has received a public apology after its event was banned from a Government-owned venue because of its traditional marriage beliefs.
In 2012, the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre prevented Christian Concern from holding a debate which was to feature speakers for and against gay marriage.
The centre cancelled the event the night before it was due to take place, saying the group’s views were “inappropriate” for a Government-owned building.
But Christian Concern took legal action, and has now reached an out-of-court settlement with the conference centre and the Department for Communities and Local Government which owns the venue.
A joint statement said the centre regretted the cancellation of the debate and the inconvenience caused.
It said: “The Centre accepts that some people have deeply held views about the nature of marriage, and that every individual has the freedom to express these in accordance with the law.
“The Centre also respects Christian Concern’s view that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that view is sincerely held.”
It continued: “We live in a multi-faith society with a deep Christian ethos.
“The government reaffirms its commitment to the long-standing British liberties of freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of association with mutual respect for the dignity and rights and freedoms of others, including the right of Christian Concern to debate their views.”
The centre has agreed to hold a future event for Christian Concern.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Eric Pickles who heads the Department for Communities and Local Government, is said to have been “irritated” by the legal dispute and wanted “heads banged together” to find a resolution.