Islington Council wins appeal over registrar who refused to carry out same-sex marriages

The BBC reports:

A council has won its appeal against a ruling it discriminated against a Christian registrar who refused to conduct same-sex civil partnerships.

Lillian Ladele said she could not carry out same-sex ceremonies “as a matter of religious conscience”.

An Employment Tribunal found in July that Islington Council, in north London, had unlawfully discriminated against her.

But an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has now upheld the authority’s appeal…

Islington councillor John Gilbert said: “The council is extremely pleased with this decision which it believes to be the right one.”

You can read the full story here. Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrats equalities spokesperson, said of the verdict:

I welcome the result as it would be just as unacceptable for a registrar to refuse to marry a couple who had had premarital sex because of their religious belief. This case is no different. There is no hierarchy between strands of equality, just the principle of mutual respect and tolerance – particularly for those in public administration. (Source: Lynne Featherstone’s blog)

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  • The civil partnership is the only option for same sex couples, those with religious views forbidding same sex unions have the option to become ministers and perform marriages in their respective religious community.

    Therefore if an official can’t perform weddings for everybody regardless to their sexual orientation or such because of his or her religious beliefs, he or she shouldn’t have sought his or her way to such aposition in the first place. He or she should have become a minister of his or her religious community, which agrees on the his or her views on who can or can not be married.

  • Good. If this idiot won’t do her job, get rid of her.

  • David Evans 20th Dec '08 - 9:50pm

    All in all rather sad as the legal clash of liberties usually is. It isn’t clear whether the person took the job before civil partnerships were introduced. If so, it could be that it is an enforced change to the individual’s terms of employment, which could be interpreted as leading them to be made redundant.

    I must say I don’t see the logic in Lynne’s comment. If strands of equality (whatever the phrase may actually be meant to mean) are all equal, and I’m not at all sure they are or even should be, the same should surely be applied to mutual respect and tolerance, but apparently tolerance doesn’t apply to the government.

    Also, I don’t agree with asquith’s description of her as an idiot – perhaps a slight lack of mutual respect and tolerance there?

  • Whereas Asquith was sometime wrong in the 1920s, he’s abolutely right here!!

  • She’s a bigot, which makes her an idiot by definition. The fact that she’s a sincere bigot doesn’t change that.

  • Good result from a somewhat bizarre ruling from the Employment tribunal. She was a civil registrar who refused to do her job – ergo she should be sacked.

  • Religion and government should be separated. If one can’t separate his or her religious views from his or her duty as a government officer, he or she shouldn’t be a government officer.

  • “Whichever way you slice it, this is a pretty nasty business, and tends to make our public servants hostages to fortune. Are they beholden to whatever damn fool idea the government of the day dreams up?”

    Err, yes …

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