The Economist on UK Christians Being Refused a Place to Discuss Marriage


The Economist filed this under "diversity and speech" -- our President Brian Brown spoke at the conference in question:

HOW far does tolerance stretch? In March Christian Concern, a lobby group that opposes gay marriage, booked rooms for its conference at the Law Society, a statutory body that represents solicitors in England and Wales. On May 11th the Law Society’s hospitality company cancelled the booking, saying that the event was “contrary to our diversity policy, espousing as it does an ethos which is opposed to same-sex marriage.” Christian Concern then booked at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, a publicly-owned building near Parliament. On May 22nd, the afternoon before the conference was due to start, its chief executive Ernest Vincent cancelled the booking, saying: “The event would conflict with our policy on diversity.”

Christian Concern is incensed. It is planning legal action, possibly for damages, possibly to get a judge to rule that the cancellation was unlawful. It notes that the government has launched a public consultation on changes to the marriage law. Those campaigning for reform are allowed to book the QEII centre; why not those opposed to it? Speakers at the conference (which then moved to a nearby hotel) included a retired philosophy professor, a representative of the Catholic archdiocese of Westminster, the chairman of the Tory Party’s oldest pressure group, the Bow Group, Phillip Blond (another Tory adviser) and Cristina Odone, a journalist married to an editor at this newspaper.