Christian registrar loses discrimination appeal

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The Independent Online

Christian registrar Lillian Ladele today lost her appeal against a ruling that she had not been discriminated against by being disciplined after she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnerships.

Ms Ladele, who became a registrar in 2002, said she could not carry out such ceremonies "as a matter of religious conscience".

She claimed she suffered ridicule and bullying as a result of her stance and said she had been harassed and discriminated against by Islington Council in north London.

An employment tribunal found that the council had unlawfully discriminated against her, but this was overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) which said there was no basis for concluding that any "discrimination had been established".

Last month, Ms Ladele's counsel, James Dingemans QC, told the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, Lord Justice Dyson and Lady Justice Smith at the Court of Appeal that she had never wanted to undermine the human rights or respect due to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender communities.

But human rights laws must also be there to protect people with committed views about marriage, he said.

But, dismissing her case, Lord Neuberger 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."