THE group behind an event run by controversial US evangelical preacher Franklin Graham has begun legal proceedings against the SEC Hydro.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has asked Glasgow Sheriff Court to grant an interim order requiring the venue to hold the event – after it axed the plans last month.

The group, headed by Franklin Graham, believes the cancellation acts as “discrimination” against Christians.

We previously revealed the decision by the venue to cancel the May 30 event after pressure from Glasgow City Council, its primary shareholder, for it to be abandoned.

It came after anger towards Graham from his past comments made about gay rights and Islam, and his support for Donald Trump, despite the US President’s adultery.

The SEC now has until February 27 to detail out to the courts why it cancelled the event.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: SEC Hydro axes event by controversial US preacher Franklin Graham

Graham, who is also president and CEO of the BGEA, said: “This is ultimately about whether the Scottish Event Campus will discriminate against the religious beliefs of Christians.

“More than 330 churches in the Glasgow area alone support this evangelistic outreach and their voices are being silenced. This case has wide-reaching ramifications for religious freedom and democracy in the UK and Europe.”

He added: “I want to encourage the Scottish Event Campus to meet with us and discuss options for a way forward. Let’s work towards a resolution.”

Susan Aitken, Glasgow City Council leader, previously said: “How [Mr Graham] expresses his views could, I believe, fundamentally breach the council’s statutory equalities duties.”

In 2016, Graham accused LGBT activists of “trying to cram down America’s throat the lie that homosexuality is OK”, and said anti-discrimination laws in the US would mean that “your children, and your grandchildren, will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts”.

Last year he criticised presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for being a self-described gay Christian.

He stated that the Bible defines homosexuality as “something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicised”.

When asked about the legal challenge, a spokeswoman for the SEC referred the Glasgow Times to the previous statement made regarding the event.

READ MORE: US preacher Franklin Graham threatens to sue Hydro after Glasgow event axed

She said: “The booking for this event was processed in the same way we would for any religious concert of this nature and as a business we remain impartial to the individual beliefs of both our clients and visitors.

“However, we are aware of the recent adverse publicity surrounding this tour and have reviewed this with our partners and stakeholders.

“Following a request from our principal shareholder the matter has been considered and a decision made that we should not host this event.”

Amid the legal action, 39 leaders from churches across Scotland have called on the city council to reverse what they claim to be “illegal and discriminatory action”.

A letter to the council reads: “We reaffirm our love and respect for people of all sections of society, including those identifying as LGBTIQ, ethnic minorities and people of all faiths and none, and we strongly refute scandalous allegations of promotion of ‘hatred’ and ‘intolerance’ on the part of Rev Franklin Graham.”

They say the council is in breach of human rights – including the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

They’re urging the council to issue an “unreserved apology” and to “investigate a culture of intolerance that may have motivated this error of judgement” – adding “these are mistakes which must be learned from”.