A CONTROVERSIAL American pastor has threatened to sue Glasgow's Hydro after the venue cancelled his prayer meeting.

He also claimed that venue bosses were "discriminating against Christians". 

The Glasgow Times reports Franklin Graham was due to come to the city in May as part of an eight day tour of the UK, but bosses at the arena were left with little choice but to ditch the event after the local authority, their majority shareholder, called for it to be abandoned following accusations of homophobia.

According to our sister title, council leader Susan Aitken said allowing the gathering to go ahead could breach strict equality laws due to Graham’s “views”.

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It’s understood the administration also expressed fears about the event damaging the city’s reputation.

The Hydro is now the third arena to cancel a booking by evangelical preacher after concerns were raised about his promotion of homophobic views. Sheffield Arena and the ACC Liverpool had already scrapped the event following protests. 

Aitken said: “The reporting of the ways in which Mr Graham expresses his views makes clear that this is not simply about offence or disagreement. Neither is it a debate about free speech.

“How he expresses his views could, I believe, fundamentally breach the council’s statutory equalities duties.”

A spokeswoman for the Hydro 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.”

Graham said he would still be coming to Glasgow, and urged the Hydro to reconsider or find themselves in court.

Much of the anger towards, Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, comes from past comments about gay rights, Islam, and his support for Donald Trump.

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Graham said the cancellation was "unfortunate because it’s based on hearsay and false accusations by just a very small group of people."

He added: "I don’t preach hate speech. We’re not coming to speak against anybody, everybody is invited to our meetings we’re inclusive.

“Though this venue may be cancelled we have not pulled out of Glasgow. We’re coming,” he insisted.

“We do have options legally. We’ll certainly pursue those options. We would rather not do that. We don’t like having to do that. We would hope that the people of the SSE Hydro would reconsider because we do have a contract and we’ve done nothing or have said nothing that would cause them to breach that contract.

“We just need to pray that God will intervene and that we’ll be able to move forward.”

The preacher said there was “no question” that the council and the Hydro were discriminating against Christians.

He also hit out at protesters who had campaigned against the event. “The other side talk about how tolerant they are and how inclusive they are, but they are the least tolerant, the least inclusive people in the UK.”.

One of those who had campaigned against the event, Green MSP Patrick Harvie said he was delighted that the venue had “come to the only responsible decision and acknowledged that it would be unacceptable to give this hate speech a platform in Glasgow.”

“As a diverse and inclusive city, these decisions should not be hard to make,” he added.

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”.