Two Christians, who claim that they were fired because they wouldn’t work with gay couples, have lost their latest and final anti-discrimination case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane both refused to work with same-sex couples because of their Christian faith.

They were subsequently fired and say it was an act of discrimination.

The pair took their claim to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), but the court ruled against them in January, and their subsequent appeal has now failed in the court’s Grand Chamber. 

Tuesday’s decision was welcomed by the National Secular Society.

It’s executive director, Keith Porteous Wood, said: “Fortunately, Europe’s highest court has now wisely followed numerous lower courts and rejected the applicants’ attempts for religious conscience to trump equality law.

“The UK has the world’s most comprehensive equality laws which already include strong protection for religious believers and they would have been fatally compromised, particularly for LGBT people, had the Grand Chamber overturned any of these judgments.

Ms Ladele was a marriage registrar for London’s Islington Borough Council but refused to conduct civil partnerships.

Mr McFarlane, from Bristol, was a relationship counsellor who was sacked in 2008 after saying he refused to give sex therapy to gay couples.