Henry Ford famously said of his ‘Model T’ car: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”.
A century later the British courts seem to be following his lead by supporting freedom of speech, just so long as you’re saying the things the culture finds acceptable.
Yesterday, the High Court ruled that Transport for London bosses “were right to ban a Christian group’s bus advert suggesting gay people could be helped to change their sexuality.”
The advert in question read “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” and was posted on London buses in response to an advert by the gay rights group Stonewall saying “Some people are gay. Get over it!”
So we have to ‘get over’ our prejudices but they don’t have to get over theirs? So it’s OK to be proud of being gay but not of being heterosexual? Or as a friend put it on Facebook “it’s okay to come out, but not to go ‘in’ again.”
I agree that we shouldn’t say offensive things to or about others, but the advert was very carefully worded in order to follow the same form as its Stonewall counterpart – so how could one “’cause grave offence’ to those who were gay” while the other doesn’t (apparently) cause grave offence to those who are not gay?
If someone goes around saying ‘I used to be blonde but now I’m brunette, and I’m proud of my new hair colour’, it would take a particular kind of paranoia for a blonde to feel that that was offensive to blondes and could exacerbate the prejudices already common against blondes.
Or what about all those adverts where people say they used to be fat but are now thin, or they used to use one kind of shampoo, but now use another, or they used to have sensitive teeth but now they don’t? Why aren’t those ads banned?
They’re not banned because we believe that thin is better than fat, that clean, glossy hair is better than dull, greasy hair, and pain-free mouths are better than painful ones.
It is hard, then, to avoid the conclusion that society considers homosexual relationships to be better than heterosexual ones, or at least to be worthy of greater support and encouragement than heterosexual ones.
We’d never see an advert promoting obesity, because some choices are not as healthy or laudable as others. It seems that the law of the land has deemed which choice of sexuality is the healthier or more laudable choice, and even to suggest that an alternative is available is “offensive” and “homophobic”.
Any person may make any lifestyle choice he (or she) likes, so long as it’s Stonewall’s.