Gideons UK in legal fight to keep name over women membership dispute

Wed 23 Oct 2019
By Cara Bentley

On Tuesday, a legal clash involving different branches of Gideons took place over the name and logo after the UK branch accepted women as members.

Gideons is a famous charity known for giving out Bibles at hotels and schools. It started in America in 1899 but has a UK branch.

The Gideons International (TGI) is now challenging Gideons UK over the use of the name and potential trade mark infringement.

 

In 2018, the UK branch accepted women after the Charity Commission enquired into whether or not it was complying with the Equality Act 2010 and suggested women should be allowed to join for them to remain compliant.

In a letter to Gideon members in September this year, president Andrew Knight said the UK branch decided it would be better to submit to this decision rather than to challenge the Charity Commission as "to do so could be seriously detrimental to the Christian testimony of the Association. The outcome would almost certainly create negative publicity and lead to the closure of doors to the distribution of God's Word throughout the UK."

However, in July 2018, the International Cabinet at TGI refused to accept financial support from Gideons UK for worldwide ministry and removed its 'National Association' status because it was decided the UK association did not accept the 'Core Values'.

TGI is challenging its right to use the Gideons name.

The result of the hearing on 22nd October is expected in 4-8 weeks.

 

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