The Christian Institute has welcomed the decision by Google to allow religious groups to place ads on the issue of abortion after legal proceedings against the world's biggest search engine were settled "on amicable terms."
The group took legal action against Google after it rejected an ad in March with its search related advertising system, AdWords. The advertisment read: “UK abortion law: Key views and news on abortion law from The Christian Institute. www.christian.org.uk.”
Google rejected the ad on the grounds that it constituted “inappropriate content.” Although Google allowed non-religious websites to place ads on the issue of abortion, it had at the time of the court proceedings a policy of not advertising sites which combined “abortion and religion-related content.”
The Christian Institute, which is committed to upholding the sanctity of life from conception, took Google to court in April, arguing that its decision violated the Equality Act 2006 which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion in the provision of a good or service.
The court action led Google to reconsider its AdWords policy to enable The Christian Institute and other religious bodies to advertise on the issue of abortion in a "factual and campaigning way."
The new policy will apply worldwide with immediate effect.
The Christian Institute welcomed the change in a statement on Wednesday.
"The Christian Institute is delighted to confirm that our legal proceedings against Google for blocking our abortion ad have been settled on amicable terms," the group said.
"This is an important issue of free speech and religious liberty and we are pleased with Google’s constructive response to this matter."
The Christian Institute is a nondenominational Christian charity and exists for "the furtherance and promotion of the Christian religion in the United Kingdom" and "the advancement of education."