by Rex Wockner
A marriage registrar in the London borough of Islington who refused to perform same-sex civil partnerships was bullied, harassed and discriminated against for her Christian beliefs, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled July 10.
Lillian Ladele had complained she was shunned, picked on and ridiculed. She praised the tribunal’s decision as “a victory for religious liberty.”
The tribunal said Islington Council, the borough government, violated “Miss Ladele’s dignity and created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”
A determination of damages will be made later.
A spokesman for the council said the borough may appeal the ruling, which he called disappointing.
“We consider our approach was the right one,” Councilor John Gilbert, the executive member for human resources, told the BBC. “The wider issue of whether councils should be able to expect employees to carry out civil partnerships doesn’t seem to have been fully addressed.”
Gay leader Peter Tatchell denounced the ruling, saying it “sanctions the right of religious people to discriminate against others who they disagree with.”
“We could soon find religious police officers, solicitors (lawyers), firefighters and doctors refusing to serve members of the public who they find morally objectionable – and being allowed to do so by the law,” Tatchell said.
The United Kingdom’s civil-partnership law grants all the rights and obligations of marriage, but under a different name.