The Mayor of London has been accused at the High Court of unlawfully banning a Christian group's controversial advert about gay people as he faced a mayoral election.
A judge was told Boris Johnson was "politically driven" when he intervened to prevent the advert, which suggests that gay people can be helped to "move out of homosexuality", appearing on the sides of London buses.
The posters read: "Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!" Mr Johnson, who is in charge of Transport for London (TfL), condemned the ad as "offensive to gays" and said it could lead to retaliation against the wider Christian community.
The Christian charity Core Issues Trust, which works with gay people seeking to change their lifestyles, asked the court to rule it had been unlawfully denied the freedom to express its views on homosexuality.
Paul Diamond, appearing for the charity, told Mrs Justice Lang, sitting at London's High Court, the ban was imposed in April last year and came "very close" to the mayoral election on May 3, when Mr Johnson defeated political opponent Ken Livingstone.
Mr Diamond said: "It was clearly a highly-charged issue, and the mayor took credit for the highly politically-driven decision. The mayor was strongly of the view this advertisement should not run." He said the Core Issues Trust had nothing but "utter respect for people struggling with same-sex attraction".
The ads were a response to a bus poster campaign by gay rights group Stonewall, which carried the message: "Some people are gay. Get over it!"
Mr Diamond argued the trust was equally entitled to express its view on the sides of buses, and to have its right to freedom of expression protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
TfL refused to carry its ad on the grounds that it was "likely to cause widespread or serious offence to members of the public", and it contained "images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy and sensitivity".
TfL lawyers are arguing Article 10 does not entitle the trust to advertise "offensive material". They say the ban was justified by the need to protect public morals and the right of homosexuals under Article 8 of the convention to respect for their dignity and private live.