Advertising Standards Authority investigate “homophobic and offensive” traditional marriage ads

I have a big problem with the way the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) operates in some areas.  Previously they have told the Evangelical Alliance and Bath Healing on the Streets that they cannot hand out flyers with the wording “We believe God and can physically heal” even though this is an orthodox Christian belief and those offering prayer in Bath will never accept anything financial or otherwise for what they do.

Here is a link to previous posts on the subject.

In an extremely concerning new development, Archbishop Cranmer who is a Christian Blogger, is now being investigated by the ASA for showing adverts for the Coalition for Marriage petition on his website.

Apparently they have recieved ten complaints stating that the adverts are homophobic and offensive.  All the adverts contain are pictures of married couples along with a statistic that “70% of people* say keep marriage as it is … (Source: ComRes poll for Catholic Voices)” and a link to the Coalition for Marriage website.

This appears to be a ridiculous situation.  Some people who are very, very easily offended have kicked up a fuss and the ASA have gone along with it.

Please visit Cranmer’s site to get the full story from his situation.

This is not a gay marriage issue, this is an issue of free speech.  Cranmer quite rightly points out:

“Freedom of speech must be tolerated, and everyone living in the United Kingdom must accept that they may be insulted about their own beliefs, or indeed be offended, and that is something which they must simply endure, not least because some suffer fates far worse…”

He needs our support and prayers in this.  If we are not allowed to publicise something that is perfectly legal, there is a very serious and big problem that our society faces.

Categories: Advertising, Homosexuality, Marriage

Tags: , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. I agree some people are very very easily offended. Imagine people being offended over a standard letter sent to everyone who has a complaint against them investigated. People who are so precious about their beliefs that they think the law should not apply to them and that they should be given special privilege and treatment.

    The ASA have not banned the publicising of something which is perfectly legal. Indeed their role is to decide whether something is legal or not. In this case they have yet to make a decision.

    It is not persecution, it is not outrageous, it is standard practice and natural justice to allow the accused to defend themselves.

    • My point is that if the ASA has to investigate everything that is brought to its attention even if there is blatantly not a problem then the ASA is not doing its job to the best of its ability and needs reforming.

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if the ASA had enough common sense to do a five minute investigation into the complaints they received, and occasionally say we’re sorry you’re upset, but no this does not warrant an investigation.

      • Yes I agree. Tthat would have been the sensible thing to do and would have made things a lot more straightforward for everyone. I think those who complained know how the ASA works and were just doing their best to stir up trouble. Very disappointing all round to put it mildly.

    • Idiotic comment there from “CV4UK”.

      “… a standard letter sent to everyone who has a complaint against them investigated” (my emphasis). That’s the point: of the vast number of complaints they receive, and the tiny number of cases they actually investigate, this is one that they take on? As it has been said, “the process is the punishment” – the ASA has chosen to drag this particular case through its tortuous processes, not because of any merit of the case against “Cranmer” under the ASA’s own rules but as an act of political bullying, pour décourager les autres.

      “… they think the law should not apply to them and that they should be given special privilege and treatment.” Of whom are you saying this, and on what grounds? I’m sure “Cranmer” would be quite happy to be treated equally before the law. That, of course, can never happen in a system where anonymous denunciations are allowed; and even more so where the statutory body attempts to stop the person they are “investigating” from even disclosing that they are being investigated.

      BTW, I am not at all a fan of “Cranmer”, with whom I disagree quite strongly on many things. But I am even less a fan of the kind of disgusting behaviour by puffed-up minor government officials that we are seeing here.

  2. Its hard to see in what way the advert is homophobic because it does not refer to homosexuality, or what part of the code has been breached. It is simply a positive affirmation of traditional marriage. I have been spending a bit of time on the pink news site recently and there is a lot of ”feeling” about this issue to say the least. The charge of homophobia is constantly levelled at the Christian community. I have been a Christian now for five years and i can honestly say that i have never heard a negative comment about homosexuality at all. Yet somehow we seen defined by an issue that is barely mentioned in the bible. Its odd that Cramner is not having to respond to a specific breach in the code but rather a blanket accusation. Surely the A.S.A must know what constitutes Homophobia and offence in relation to this advert. I agree it is a freedom of speech issue.

    • Graham,

      I suspect the isuuse is that the question to which 70% of those polled agreed was not should gay people be prohibited from getting married as implied by the advert. The question asked was deeply flawed and the conclusion reached by the advert required a logical jump that may be too far. The poll could just as easily be interpreted as saying that 70% of people consider adulterous husbands and wives should not be considered married. I suspect the 70% would not support my interpretation nor would they support that in the advert. That might be the problem.

  3. The sad state of affairs that is now being promoted and applied in the UK is political correctness gone wrong. This is in law and ineffective departmental bods are taking issue from a myriad of minor obtuse cases being put to them. The fact is though that the main criticisers of same-sex civil marriage has been the Christian churches. The reaction therefore will be against those churches. Pettiness in most cases and not applicable in many cases – both sides talking hyperbole and from an emotional context. I can not see any thing wrong on Cranmer’s site. The action against the ad is petty and in truth malicious. Those complaining should put their own ad on a site rather than whine. I am tired of both sides whining. I think civil marriage should be open to same-sex couples and civil partnership open to heterosexual couples. The option of a religious ceremony should really be applied to the believer of that religion and not just available as the traditional thing to do. To get married in a religious setting as a non-believer is hypercritical. I under stand there are LGBT people out there who are of a religious persuasion, including of course Christian, who attend a religious setting who would want their relationship on a par with heterosexual believers. That should be between them, God and their ‘church’.

  4. Yes certainly the way questions are asked may have a bearing on the response one receives. Each party wants to present their case in the best possible light or to be able to persuade of the rightness of a particular cause. This happens on Gay as well as Christian forums. People are free knowing both the question and the response and who commissions the advertising to discern any slant or bias but i don’t think that qualifies as homophobia

  5. Francis i agree, some of the comments on Cramner whilst being witty and clever are not constructive, insulting to certain groups particularly homosexuals and not very Christian at all. As efgd has said the whole debate has become overheated and childish with no attempt at all to understand the others viewpoint. Thats why its so disappointing that a public body is investigating on such a flimsy pretext which lends to the suspicion of a political agenda.


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