After canceling a venue hire due to a speaker’s opinions, the council will pay £25,000 in damages.
After canceling a conference booking due to the opinions of a speaker, a council has agreed to pay a Christian organization £25,000 in damages.
At June of last year, Destiny Ministries planned to hold its Surge Conference in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.
The City of Edinburgh Council, however, terminated its contract for the hire of the hall in early 2020 after the organization refused to accede to the authority’s request to withdraw speaker Larry Stockstill due to his views on marriage and sexuality, according to the statement.
The council was sued by Destiny Ministries, which portrays itself as a “contemporary, multinational, apostolic movement.”
The council admitted that it had failed to consider the organization’s rights under human rights and the Equality Act.
“We hired the Usher Hall in 2020 to host our Surge Conference, but the council incorrectly opted to cancel our booking for grounds that directly connected to our religion and belief,” Destiny Ministries’ Andrew Owen stated.
We decided that this egregious violation of religious liberty and freedom of expression ought to be addressed in court.
“We were taken aback by this.
We pleaded with the council to reconsider its decision, but it refused. After conversing with a number of Christians, we came to the conclusion that this major violation of religious liberty and freedom of expression needed to be addressed in court.
“We are disappointed that the issue had to be pursued in the first place, but we are relieved that the council has finally apologized and admitted that it acted improperly under the Human Rights Act and discriminated against us under the Equality Act by canceling our reservation.
“Now that this is behind us, we are looking forward to being able to use council facilities in the future as we spread the gospel.”
Lindsays, a law company, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Destiny Ministries.
“As a council, we are totally committed to fostering equality and diversity,” a spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council stated. (This is a brief piece.)