An evangelical Christian group is reportedly suing a string of UK entertainment venues and city councils after they axed public appearances by anti-LGBTQ preacher Franklin Graham.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is taking legal action against venues in Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and Wales, openDemocracy reports.
BGEA had planned eight events in the UK between May and October this year, but they were cancelled following backlash from LGBTQ+ people.
News of the legal action has emerged as part of a larger investigation by UK-based political site openDemocracy, which claims the group spent $23 million furthering their agenda in Europe between 2007 and 2014.
They say they have "confirmed via public court records that BGEA is currently a claimant in at least two ongoing ‘breach of contract’ court cases in the UK. The first involves venues in both Manchester and Birmingham and the second is against venues in the city of Sheffield and the country of Wales as well as Sheffield city council and the Welsh government."
"LGBT agenda wants to force everyone to accept & condone their lifestyle which God’s Word defines as sin"
Trump ally Franklin, who has a history of making homophobic and Islamophobic comments, told The Guardian in February he was "being denied [a platform] because of religious beliefs."
In 2016, Graham - son of evangelist Billy Graham - tweeted: "LGBT agenda wants to force everyone to accept & condone their lifestyle which God’s Word defines as sin." The same year, he added: "LGBT activists are trying to hook their caboose to the “freedom train” & drag an immoral agenda into our communities."
LGBT activists are trying to hook their caboose to the “freedom train” & drag an immoral agenda into our communities https://t.co/QeMzUA4RFk— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) February 6, 2016
LGBT agenda wants to force everyone to accept & condone their lifestyle which God’s Word defines as sin.— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) February 26, 2016
He said in February: "As Americans, we should be concerned about the rise of secularism and the potential suppression of religious freedom and freedom of speech in the U.K. What happens there often makes its way to the United States. I will never sit back quietly and let the government—or any other power—silence the church and prevent the preaching of God’s Word."
Attitude has approached the BGEA for comment.