That would appear to be the upshot of the Belfast High Court ruling which overturned an Advertising Standards Authority ban on a controversial advert by Sandown Free Presbyterian Church. From the BBC report
In his ruling on Tuesday, Mr Justice Treacy stressed the context of the advertisement was important.
The judge noted that the advertisement contained no exhortation to violence and that it also made clear how violent antagonism towards homosexuals was unacceptable and unjustifiable.
He said: “The applicant’s religious views and the biblical scripture which underpins those views no doubt cause offence, even serious offence, to those of a certain sexual orientation.
“Likewise, the practice of homosexuality may have a similar effect on those of a particular religious faith.
“But Article 10 (of the European Convention on Human Rights) protects expressive rights which offend, shock or disturb. [added emphasis]”
“Moreover, Article 10 protects not only the content and substance of information but also the means of dissemination since any restriction on the means necessarily interferes with the right to receive and impart information.
Mr Justice Treacy emphasised that his assessment took into account the very particular context in which the advertisement was placed.
He noted: “The fact that the advertisement did not condone and was not likely to provoke violence, (it) contained no exhortation to other improper or illegal activity, (and) constituted a genuine attempt to stand up for their religious beliefs and to encourage others to similarly bear witness.”
He said this had been done by citing well-known portions of scripture which underpinned the church’s religious faith and its call to bear witness.
“Whilst such views and scriptural references may be strongly disdained and considered seriously offensive by some, this does not justify the full scope of the restrictions contained in the impugned determination,” the judge added.
And, on balance, I’d tend to agree.