A civil registrar who claimed her Christian belief is so fundamental that she cannot conduct civil partnerships is an unmarried single mother.
During an employment tribunal Lillian Ladele, 47, who was born and raised in Nigeria, claimed that she was discriminated against by Islington Council on the grounds of her religious belief.
She told the Mail that she gave birth to an illegitimate son when she was 20.
“I would never claim to be perfect,” she said.
The revelation has led to accusations that she was not properly cross-examined at the tribunal about the nature of her religious faith – details of her extra-marital sexual activities only came to light at the weekend.
The tribunal’s judgement read:
“Ms Ladele is a Christian. Her unchallenged evidence was that she holds the orthodox Christian view that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others and that marriage is the God-ordained place for sexual relations.
“She could not reconcile her faith with taking an active part in enabling same-sex unions to be formed.
“She told us that she believed this to be contrary to God’s instructions that sexual relations belong exclusively between a man and a woman within marriage.”
Ms Ladele told the Mail that while working as a registrar in Islington she told her superiors:
“I would not be able to conduct civil partnerships because it states in the Bible that marriage occurs between a man and a woman, not people of the same sex, and, as a Christian, I try to follow what the Bible teaches.
“I’m not homophobic. I’ve never had a problem with gay people or their lifestyle.
“My issue was purely that I did not want to be the one to facilitate same-sex civil partnerships because I do not agree with them.”
Gay equality organisation Stonewall said it is encouraging Islington Council to appeal against the employment tribunal decision.
“We will seek to intervene formally in any appeal process if the opportunity arises,” chief executive Ben Summerskill told PinkNews.co.uk
“In the light of the revelations over the weekend that Miss Ladele has in fact had a child out of wedlock it does seem that the tribunal should have tested the exact nature of her claimed religious beliefs rather harder.
“It remains difficult to escape the conclusion that the principal motivation in this case for Ms Ladele, and for the Christian Institute who funded her, was prejudice against gay people and not a strongly-held religious position at all.”
The tribunal ruled that Ms Ladele was unlawfully discriminated against because of her religion.
It also found that Islington council failed to apply its anti-discrimination policies to gay colleagues who were mistreating her, failed to stop bullying against her and labelled her homophobic.
The tribunal also accepted that Islington Council had been able to deliver a “first-class” service to homosexual couples seeking civil partnerships, without Miss Ladele’s involvement.
Therefore, the Council’s decision to require Miss Ladele to perform civil partnership registrations, contrary to her conscience, was an unlawful act of indirect religious discrimination.
The Council’s actions also amounted to unlawful harassment.
The judgement found that the Council “disregarded and displayed no respect for Ms Ladele’s genuinely held religious belief,” and it created an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her on grounds of her religion on belief.”
Ms Ladele told the Mail why she enjoys working as a registrar:
“As a Christian, I loved being able to help people, to talk to them when they needed advice, it’s what my religion is all about and I think I have a lot of empathy.”