Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christian U.K. Registrar Loses Right of Conscience on Same-Sex Civil Unions


Lilian Ladele is the U.K. registrar who refused to perform homosexual civil partnership ceremonies because of her Christian beliefs. To learn more about Lillian Ladele and her story go here

Christian U.K. Registrar Loses Right of Conscience on Same-Sex Civil Unions

by Kathleen Gilbert

LONDON, December 19, 2008 - London's Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has overturned a ruling that granted compensation to a U.K. registrar subjected to harassment and the potential loss of her job after refusing to conduct civil unions between same-sex couples.

The court ruled that Islington Council of north London had not unjustly discriminated against 47-year-old Lillian Ladele, who objected to involvement in the unions because of her Christian beliefs.

"The council were not taking disciplinary action against Ms Ladele for holding her religious beliefs," stated the EAT ruling. "They did so because she was refusing to carry out civil partnership ceremonies and this involved discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation."
Ladele brought her employer to court after she claimed she was bullied and treated as a "pariah" by her fellow employees because of her adherence to Christian beliefs on homosexuality. Ladele would not perform such ceremonies and instead arranged for other colleagues to handle them. Nonetheless, the Council accused her of gross misconduct and refused to consider her for promotion, eventually threatening to fire her if she did not conduct a homosexual union herself.
The Central London Employment Tribunal had unanimously agreed that Ladele's treatment amounted to religious discrimination and unlawful harassment. The Islington Council then took the case to the EAT, where they argued that Ladele's beliefs ought not interfere with her directive to provide equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation.

The EAT tribunal ruled in favor of the Council's interpretation, stating that the earlier tribunal had "erred in law" and there was no basis for concluding any discrimination against Ladele based on her religious beliefs had taken place.

“Let’s say I am an anarchist and I feel strongly that I want to go around blowing things up, but my employers object," EAT president Judge Patrick Elias told a tribunal hearing last week. "It may well be that anarchy is my genuinely held belief. But it does not mean that my employer’s decision not to allow me to [do so] is discriminating against that belief.”

Ladele plans to take her case to the Court of Appeal.

"Religious freedoms must be respected but not at the expense of upholding civil liberties for all," commented Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman, as reported by the U.K.'s homosexual news service

"But while the Labour government’s apparent indulgence of religiously-based prejudice could make it very difficult for lesbian and gay teachers to find work in faith schools, at least the Ladele case is an encouraging sign that UK courts will uphold the principle that religion cannot trump the right to equal treatment."

Ladele's lawyer Mark Jones said in a statement outside of court that Ladele "wants to make it clear that, whatever other commentators may have said, this case has never been an attempt to undermine the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender communities.

"The evidence showed that Lillian performed all of her duties to the same high standard for the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender communities, as she did for everyone. This case has been about the shortfall between the principle of equal dignity and respect for different lifestyles and world views, and Islington Council's treatment of Lillian Ladele - conduct which the tribunal felt moved to describe as extraordinary and unreasonable."

Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute, expressed disappointment at the ruling. "Gay rights are not the only rights," he said. "If this decision is allowed to stand it will help squeeze out Christians from the public sphere because of their religious beliefs on ethical issues." The Christian Institute is a non-denominational Christian lobby group that supported Ladele's case.
In the words of registrar Elizabeth Thatcher, Civil marriage registrars who face losing their jobs for living their Christian beliefs are slowly entering a "climate of fear" created by the U.K.'s increasingly aggressive laws favoring universal acceptance for homosexual behavior.

Read article here


  1. The council took disciplinary action because-

    "she was refusing to carry out civil partnership ceremonies and this involved discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation."

    This government doesn't seem to get it. There is nothing wrong with discriminating between good and evil. People who are the same sex and try to marry each other also intend to perform homosexual acts. Homosexual acts are disordered. Male and female compliment each other not two men or two women.

    When Ladele said she would not perform the ceremony, she is simply discriminating between good and evil and then choosing the good.

  2. I disagree with your definition of good and evil- however, that is not the point.

    Let us suggest that a Muslim woman has a job as a taxi driver. She wears the hijab, and complains that this means she cannot see behind her to drive safely (this is hypothetical- I am sure women who wear the hijab can and do drive safely). Therefore, whenever she needs to leave the office, in order to do her job and drive people places, she refuses, and instead passes this job on to someone else. She is not doing her job! Why should her employer continue to pay her if she will not, because of her privately held religious beliefs, do the duties which she is paid to do?

    This case is the same. Ladele was hired to conduct civil marriages and unions. What right does she have to refuse to do part of the job for which she was hired? Perhaps she should find a job which does not demand her to go against her religious code.

  3. There is a BIG difference between wearing a garment and homosexuality! Thanks for the anon comment though;)

  4. wearing a garment which restricts your work

    discriminating against a cartain community which restrics your work

    either way, the result is the same.

  5. "Let us suggest that a Muslim woman has a job as a taxi driver. She wears the hijab, and complains that this means she cannot see behind her to drive safely."

    The conclusion drawn from this analogy is flawed. If the woman was hired to be a taxi driver, but cannot drive, then she is not doing any of her job. Ladele, however, was doing her job. She was performing marriages, just not civil partnership unions. She was not an unproductive employee.

    I find it reprehensible that the court saw fit to rule that she could hold her religious beliefs, just not act (or refuse to act) based on those beliefs. For countless millions of people, religion is not just a Sunday meeting but a way of living. This court, then, has ruled that Ladele may not live this way at work; that her beliefs must not be a way of life, but rather separate from work.

  6. why should the workplace suffer because of her discrimination? she is doing less work than other people- ergo she should not have the same job title or pay as those other people. if her religion gets in the way of her job, then she should find a job which does not clash with her beliefs, and then the problem will be solved.

  7. She wasn't doing less work. If a same-gender union case came up, she switched with another registrar. No one was being denied services.

  8. Anonymous, there are always other people who will be willing to do the job. Just because the registrar was unwilling to join homosexual couples does not mean that she was working any less than anyone else.

    "if her religion gets in the way of her job, then she should find a job which does not clash with her beliefs, and then the problem will be solved."

    This is not a solution. It never ceases to amaze me that gay rights activists cry foul and claim they've been shoved to the back of the proverbial bus; and yet, demands like the one above would suggest that in truth, it is religion that is being forced to take a back seat and being made to bow to the whims of flawed discrimination accusations. In the case of Ladele, it is clear that homosexuals do not only wish to have equal rights; they wish to force acceptance of their lifestyle on those who do not wish to embrace it.

    This agenda is also evident in the case of Dr's Brody and Fenton who refused to artifically inseminate a Lesbian woman due to "crisis of conscience." They were not willing to create life for an unwed woman. Similarly, even though there were other doctors who would have been willing to perform the proceedure, Benitez chose to sue and won. Religious beliefs took a backseat there, too.

    It is increasingly clear, too, that homosexuals want to make this a religion v. gay rights battle even though it is not. With a world becoming increasingly secular, it is not too far off base to realize that homosexuals are most likely to win their desired acceptance through a direct attack on religion rather than address the countless secular, social science arguments that prove marriage between one man and one woman is the prime and optimal environment for the raising up of our country's and world's future generations. Because they cannot refute science, research, and facts, they instead make a horrendously emotional appeal to the secular minds that scoff at organized religion - pointing fingers and crying "foul fanatic."

  9. You're right. It isn't gay rights vs religion- it is gay rights vs those in religion who choose not to accept gay people, despite complaining of not being accepted themselves. For hundreds of years, homosexuals have been marginalised and misunderstood, because certain religions demanded it. Now, at last, the tide is turning and gay people have a chance to be accepted and embraced. Of course at first some rulings are going to seem biased- the water is still being tested, and courts have not necessarily got the balance right yet. But I hope that one day religion and sexuality will be able to co-exist, both sides respecting eachother and, of course, overlapping- many gay rights activists are, in fact, religious. It is the actions against the gay community, not the religion itself, which gay rights supporters attempt to change.

  10. I believe it is actually a step further than that. Gay issues are a religion in and of themselves. It's a whole belief system different from traditional values and beliefs. Seen on this footing, it becomes quite clear that the two diametrically opposing sides will never reconcile.

    It's not rights, it's domination. They can never live peaceably side by side by nature.

  11. I disagree. If there are gay members of the clergy (which there are- in Britain a study showed that there was quite a high proportion of gay priests), who have offered their entire lives to God, then why should churchgoers not simply accept their homosexual bretherin? The Christian message tells of nothing if not forgiveness.

  12. anon 1?

    you don't address anon 2's (?) point.

    it's two different belief systems. what do gay clergy have to do with that point? can you explain?

  13. The problem is that both ideas are mutually exclusive. They can't coexist in the same place just like communism and free markets can't coexist in the same economy. Eventually one set of ideas will replace the other. That's at the heart, what this battle is all about.

  14. you think that homosexuality is a belief system?! i didn't reply to that because i have very little to say. being gay is not a religion. gay people often have the same moral code as many christians. there are muslim gay people, christians, buddhists, humanists. communists and capitalists believe the exact opposite, gay people and christians do not. they disagree on one point, which is where hate the sin, love the sinner comes in. it is a ridiculous comparison, because there is no comparison between the two.

    i find it hard to believe you think one day either everyone will become christian or everyone will become gay. human belief has a huge number of forms and nuances. i find it hard to believe that all the world will ever believe exactly the same thing.


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