December 17, 2009

Anti-gay registrar loses religious discrimination appeal

by David Masters

Registrar Lillian Ladele has lost her appeal against being required to carry out civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

Ladele said she could not hold the ceremonies because of her Christian beliefs.

However, the Court of Appeal ruled that she had not been discriminated against by her employer, Islington Council, who require her to carry out the ceremonies as part of her job.

The Christian Institute, a conservative Christian group which is supporting Ladele, said it will appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.

“We are naturally disappointed at this decision and Miss Ladele intends to appeal,” said Christian Institute spokesperson Mike Judge.

Gay rights group Stonewall welcomed the ruling.

Derek Munn, Stonewall’s director of public affairs, said: “[We] are pleased that the Court of Appeal has upheld the right of lesbian and gay people to receive public services from public servants.

“You can’t refuse a service to a person based on their gender, race or disability and you can’t on the basis of their sexual orientation either.”

Ekklesia, a Christian think-tank which supports the right of same-sex couples to enter a civil partnership, said Christians should celebrate the Court of Appeal’s decision.

“This is good news for all those Christians who are fed up of seeing Christianity used as an excuse for homophobia,” said Ekklesia spokesperson Symon Hill.

“It is time for pro-equality Christians to make clear that our commitment to equality is not in tension with Christianity, or incidental to it, but flows naturally from it,” he added.

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