Edinburgh Council has apologized and agreed to pay £25,000 (about $35,000) in damages to Destiny Ministries after unlawfully canceling their event booking.
UK-based Destiny Ministries planned to host its SURGE conference at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall in June 2020.
Edinburgh Council canceled the booking after groups complained about the event’s guest speaker Larry Stockstill, a Louisiana-based pastor who openly shares his Biblically based views on marriage and sexuality.
The council at the time said that they canceled the event due to Stockstill’s religious beliefs, which they held to be “offensive” and “discriminatory.”
Destiny Ministries launched legal action against Edinburgh Council for discrimination and infringing human rights.
As a result of the court battle, Edinburgh Council has admitted that it “failed to meet its equalities duties to Destiny Ministries in terms of the Equality Act 2010 and therefore acted unlawfully.”
“We are sad that the case needed to be pursued in the first place, but we are pleased that the Council has now apologized and acknowledged that it acted unlawfully under the Human Rights Act and that by canceling our booking, it also discriminated against us in terms of the Equality Act,” said Andrew Owen, co-founder of Destiny Ministries. “With this behind us, we look forward to being able to make use of the Council’s premises in the future as we bring forward the Good News of the Gospel.”
Last year, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association faced an almost parallel situation when venues canceled their contacts ahead of Franklin Graham’s evangelistic tour across United Kingdom. The venue cancelations sparked debate over freedom of speech and religious freedom in the United Kingdom.
The organization, which is seeking legal resolution with the venues, has expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be at the forefront of upholding religious liberty and freedom of speech in the United Kingdom.
Above: Edinburgh’s Usher Hall
Photo: John Peter Photography/Alamy Stock Photo