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Religious Convictions and Civil Partnerships – UK Ruling

December 31st, 2009 · 3 Comments · Equality, LGBT, Religious Right Dressed up as research institutes, Same Sex Partnerships

An important ruling earlier this month from the Court of Appeal in the UK to a ruling in the Employment Appeal Tribunal concerning a registrar Lillian Ladele.

Ms. Ladele took a case against her employer, Islington Council, alleging that she was harassed and discriminated against by the council because she refused to perform registrations at civil partnership ceremonies. She did not wish to perform the function due to her religious convictions.  The council had issued verbal and written warnings but had not dismissed Ms. Ladele.  She has voluntarily left her position since September.

An Employment Tribunal initially found in her favour last year but the Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled against her and she took the case to the Court of Appeal.

Masters of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger in his judegment refusing leave to appeal to the Supreme Court said

It appears to me that, however much sympathy one may have with someone such as Ms Ladele, who is faced with choosing between giving up a post she plainly appreciates or officiating at events which she considers to be contrary to her religious beliefs, the legislature has decided that the requirements of a modern liberal democracy, such as the United Kingdom, include outlawing discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on grounds of sexual orientation, subject only to very limited exceptions.”

This ruling will be watched with interest by both lgbt rights groups and the Iona Institute and Renew and their supporters who are campaigning for the insertion of the an amendment to the Civil Partnership Bill to protect those who do not wish to perform registrations due to their religious convictions .   It is anticipated that the Government will not include such an amendment and indeed many opposition politicians are against it’s inclusion.

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