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Christian Institute may appeal to High Court over Ladele ruling

Tony Grew December 19, 2008

A fundamentalist Christian group that financially backed a tribunal against Islington Council has said the case may go to the Court of Appeal.

The Christian Institute is a small but vocal group who have made a name for themselves with high profile campaigns against equality for gay people.

They recently Lillian Ladele’s case. She won employment tribunal ruling that in June that agreed Islington council discriminated against her because she wanted to opt out of performing civil partnership ceremonies on religious grounds.

The tribunal ruled that she was unlawfully discriminated against because of her religion. An employment appeals tribunal, published today, found there was no discrimination.

In a statement on their website the Institute said the case may be appealed to the High Court and insisted it was about religous rights.

Mark Jones, solicitor for the former registrar, said:

“Lillian Ladele intends to appeal the judgment given by the tribunal today.

“The evidence showed that Lillian performed all of her duties to the same high standard for the LGBT community as she did for everyone.

“This case has been about the shortfall between the principle of equal dignity and respect for different lifestyles and world views, and Islington Council’s treatment of Lillian Ladele – conduct which the tribunal felt moved to describe as extraordinary and unreasonable.

“The case has also been about the reason why Islington Council decided to designate Lillian Ladele a civil partnership registrar, without informing her, when she had asked not to be made one; when the council expressly knew it would conflict with her religious belief (a religious belief it accepted was worthy of respect); and when the evidence showed that her involvement was not even required to help the council provide its civil partnership service.

“The council has since then pursued Lillian Ladele in disciplinary proceedings which it has made clear may ultimately lead to her dismissal.”

Last year the Christian Institute claimed that the new offence of incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation restricts free speech targets Christians and will stifle debate about homosexuality.

It objected to the extension of incitement to racial hatred laws to sexual orientation as “homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle. Many ‘gay rights’ activists would say that their sexual orientation is a choice, not a genetic characteristic.”

The fundamentalist group previously failed to stop the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations which protect gay people from discrimination in goods and services.

Last year the Institute targeted a No Outsiders scheme promoting gay couples and families through fairytales aimed a primary-aged children and called for the reintroduction of Section 28.

More: England, London

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