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Cinema Chain That Banned Ex-Gay Christian Film Settles Lawsuit

Cinema Chain That Banned Ex-Gay Christian Film Settles Lawsuit

Voices of the Silenced, a documentary film about men and women who abandoned homosexuality. | (Photo: Screengrab/YouTube.com)

A U.K.-based cinema chain has settled a lawsuit with Christian filmmakers after it canceled their screening for a film about individuals who've abandoned homosexuality.

Premier News reports that Vue Cinemas — which operates nearly 90 theaters in England and Ireland — admitted that it breached the terms of a contract when it banned the film "Voices of the Silenced" from being shown in its theaters.

The movie, made by the Christian group Core Issues Trust, was scheduled to be shown at one of Vue Cinema's theaters in February when it was canceled with just one day's notice.  

"The claim made relates simply to a technical breach of contract because of the late cancellation of the screen booking and was for a nominal amount," a Vue Cinema spokesperson said. 

Mike Davidson, the film's producer, said he was "delighted" with the outcome.

"Vue Cinemas has recognized that it was wrong to block us from showing the film," he said.

Although the film was ultimately shown in a conference room at the Emanuel Centre in Westminster, organizers protested and filed legal action against Vue Cinemas, claiming a breach of contract and sought to be compensated for wasted expenses. This week Vue Cinemas agreed to pay a "nominal" amount to settle the lawsuit.

A spokesperson for the movie theater chain stood by the decision to cancel the screening, saying it was "in direct conflict to our values."

"Voices of the Silenced," which highlights the goals of sexual revolutionary politics, was filmed in seven countries and features 15 people who are emerging from the homosexual life who recount their experiences of leaving gay and lesbian relationships behind.

One such voice was a Danish man named Marcel who was physically abused as a child and suicidal. He was exposed to pornography and felt sexually attracted to men during his adolescent and teen years, and had a short-term relationship with a boyfriend. He maintains in the film that therapy helped him understand the roots of his issues and is now living a fulfilled life.

Among the prominent experts featured in the film are Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, now deceased clinical psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, and therapist David Pickup.

The film argues that modern secularists are not as "neutral" as they purport to be, outlines the implications their worldview has for 21st century Christians, and shows historical examples of how state-controlled pagan societies in the ancient world, particularly the Roman Empire, suppressed believers.

Andrea Williams, a lawyer with the Christian Legal Centre, which has been supporting Davidson, said voices like his need to be heard in the debate over gender and sexuality.

"Their experiences [former LGBT persons] simply don't fit in with current LGBT ideology and narratives which claim that it's impossible for someone's sexual attraction to change," she said.

"LGBT activists shouldn't be allowed to define or deny other people's life experiences or squeeze them out of the public debate."

The settlement comes amid recently-announced U.K. government plans to outlaw what is often derisively called "conversion therapy" and intensifying debate over proposed reforms to the nation's Gender Recognition Act, where it's being considered to allow any person to self-identify as the gender of their choice regardless of whether or not they have transitioned.

"[People] talk about sexual fluidity and it's fine to speak of that in a transgender context, but we're not allowed to talk about someone who wants to leave [a] gay [lifestyle]," Davidson previously told Premier News.

In March, The Christian Post reported that a Baptist church in Northern Ireland had been threatened with "extreme violence" to prevent the film from being shown, according to Rodney Stout, the pastor of the church. Protestors showed up outside the church the day of the screening. 

"I was totally behind their right to be there," Stout was quoted as saying.

"Some were angry, but several of them agreed that we had the right to screen the film. I asked them if any minority group should have its right to be heard suppressed, and they said no."

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