Registrar who refused to carry out civil partnership ceremonies loses appeal

Tuesday, 15th December 2009


By TOM FOOT from the High Court

A CHRISTIAN marriage registrar Lillian Ladele who was threatened with the sack after she refused to “marry” gay couples has lost her appeal in the High Court.
Lillian Ladele, 48, had hoped to overturn a decision by a top employment tribunal judge who had backed Islington Council in the dispute.
The council said Ms Ladele’s religious beliefs, that same sex unions were “sinful”, clashed with their strict employment codes and meant she was failing to fulfil her duties.
High Court “Master of the Rolls” Lord Justice Dyson dismissed the appeal this morning and ordered Ms Ladele, who was not present in court, to pay costs.
In a 17 page judgement, Lord Dyson said: “Islington wished to ensure that all their registrars were designated to conduct, and did conduct, civil partnerships as they regarded this as consistent with their strong commitment to fighting discrimination, and internally in the sense of relations with and between their employees. I find it very hard to see how this could be challenged.”
Ms Ladele, who lives in Skinner Street, Finsbury and continues to work in Islington Town Hall registering births and deaths.
The Christian Institute, which has bankrolled Ms Ladele through two employment tribunals and the most recent High Court hearing, said it would appeal the decision in the Supreme Court.
Liberal Democrat councillor Ruth Polling, cabinet for Equalities, Islington Council said this afternoon (Monday): “This is very welcome news. The judgement is the right one as it confirms all public sector employees must carry out their duties without discrimination and Islington was right to insist this of all our staff. We are delighted it provides much-needed clarity for employers across the country.”

See Friday’s Islington Tribune for more..

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