Christian registrar loses gay wedding appeal

LONDON Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:32pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - A Christian registrar who was threatened with the sack after refusing to carry out gay weddings "as a matter of religious conscience" has lost an appeal against discrimination.

Lillian Ladele, who became a registrar in 2002, claims she was bullied and harassed by Islington council in north London as a result of her stance.

She was backed by Christian groups but opposed by gay rights campaigners.

In July last year, an employment tribunal found that the council had unlawfully discriminated against her, but the ruling was overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) which said there was no basis for concluding that any discrimination had been established.

Ladele then took her case to appeal.

Last month, her counsel, James Dingemans, told three Appeal Court judges 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.

"She believes that marriage should be between one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others.

"Modern human rights jurisprudence was not intended to obliterate religious beliefs held for millennia," he added.

But the Appeal court dismissed her case, the Press Association reported on Tuesday.

Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, said: "The legislature has decided that the requirements of a modern liberal democracy ... include outlawing discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on grounds of sexual orientation, subject only to very limited exceptions."

(Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Michael Holden)

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