Islington “Christian registrar” loses High Court appeal

Islington Registrar Lilian Ladele, who claimed she had suffered religious discrimination after she refused to carry out civil partnerships because of her “Christian conscience,” has lost her High Court Appeal. She had previously won at the initial employment tribunal then lost at the employment appeal.

Ladele contends that Islington Council could have relieved her from carrying out civil partnership registrations and still have satisfactorily offered the service. But the High Court thought that this was not the point, especially for a local authority which was proud of its commitment to equality.

Crucially, the High Court decided that conducting civil partnerships “did not impinge on [Ladele’s] religious beliefs: she remained free to hold those beliefs, and free to worship as she wished. ... Ms Ladele was employed in a public job and was working for a public authority; she was being employed to perform a purely secular task ... [her] refusal to perform that task involved discriminating against gay people.”

Her backers, the Christian Institute, have not yet decided whether to sink more of their apparently limitless funds by pressing on further to the Supreme Court, which they will now need leave to do.