A Christian evangelist was accused of a hate crime and locked up in a cell after preaching from the Bible to a gay teenager.
Gordon Larmour, 42, was charged by police after telling the story of Adam and Eve to a 19-year-old who asked him about God’s views on homosexuality.
The street preacher referred to the Book of Genesis and stated that God created Adam and Eve to produce children.
Within minutes he was frogmarched to a police van, accused of threatening or abusive behaviour ‘aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation’ – despite not swearing or using any form of offensive language.
The father-of-one spent a night in custody and faced a six-month ordeal before a sheriff cleared him of any blame.
The incident, which occurred in his home town of Irvine in Ayrshire, has become a rallying point for Christian campaigners who are concerned that freedom of speech is being stifled by political correctness.
Mr Larmour told the Scottish Mail on Sunday: “I can’t see why I was arrested in the first place – it was a massive overreaction and a waste of everyone’s time. The police didn’t listen to me. They took the young homosexual guy’s side straight away and read me my rights.
“I feel they try so hard to appear like they are protecting minorities, they go too far the other way. I want to be able to tell people the good word of the Gospel and think I should be free to do so. I wasn’t speaking my opinions – I was quoting from the Bible.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It is a great relief that the judge ruled in favour of Gordon, because the case simply did not stand up to scrutiny.”
Mr Larmour is a born-again Christian who has been street preaching for seven years. At around 7.30pm on July 17 last year he was handing out leaflets on Irvine’s High Street when a group of young men passed him.
He told them: “Don’t forget Jesus loves you and He died for your sins.” One asked Mr Larmour, “What does your God say about homosexuals?”
The two argued and Mr Larmour claimed he was chased by the young man. However, he was the one arrested when the police arrived.
He said: “I think the police should have handled it differently and listened to what I had to say. They should have calmed the boy down and left it at that.
“In court the boy’s friend told the truth – that I hadn’t assaulted him or called him homophobic names. I had simply answered his question and told him about Adam and Eve and Heaven and Hell. Preaching from the Bible is not a crime.”
At Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last month, Sheriff Alistair Watson ruled there was no case to answer and acquitted Mr Larmour of threatening or abusive behaviour, aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation.
The sheriff also found him not guilty of a second charge of assault aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation.