Gay Star News reports that several Icelanders have booked tickets to see American evangelist Franklyn Graham but have no intention of showing up for his two appearances in September.
According to the report, Icelanders had expressed concern about Graham’s anti-gay views, found out they could reserve tickets to the two free events, and decided to book them out with no intention of attending in protest.
Elvar Thormar, a software developer, wrote on Facebook that he’d reserved 500 tickets, but doesn’t plan to go.
Following Barack Obama’s affirmation of the right of gay couples to get married in May last year, Graham issued a statement, saying that the American president had “shaken his fist” at God, and calling his stance a “sad day for America,” a Huffington Post report noted.
Graham added: “It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more.”
International Business Times (IBT) notes that gay marriage has been legal in Iceland since 2010, and the Church of Iceland’s bishop, Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, is supportive of gay rights.
According to IBT, Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir, a deputy and features editor for Iceland Review magazine, Graham’s planned visit is generating controversy.
“This is certainly a heatedly debated issue in Iceland at the moment,” she said in an email to IBT.
Iceland is considered to be one of the most queer-friendly countries in the world. Voters elected Johanna Sigurdardottir, who is a lesbian, as head of state in 2009. She retired earlier this year.