Islington council announces new gay equality charter
A London council that was taken to an employment tribunal by a Christian registrar who refused to officiate at civil partnerships has announced a charter for lesbian, gay and bisexual residents.
Islington Council won its case against registrar Lillian Ladele at the employment appeals tribunal last month.
Ms Ladele had won at a previous tribunal that agreed she was discriminated against by her employer on the grounds of her religion.
The EAT overturned the original judgement and said Islington council were not taking disciplinary action against Ms Ladele for holding her religious beliefs; they did so because she was refusing to carry out civil partnership ceremonies and this involved discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
The council said the new charter of sexual orientation equalities would “redouble its commitment to keep discrimination out of its offices, playgrounds, and public services.”
It states that the council always requires their employees to act in a non-discriminatory manner when discharging their duties.
The charter also promises action to help gay people in the community who are still at more risk of harassment or homophobia.
The council commits to tackling homophobic bullying in schools and making sure that the borough’s care homes for elderly people are friendly to older gay people and recognise same-sex relationships.
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The charter also commits to working with the Chinese, black and Irish communities, where gay people from within that community remain more at risk of homophobia.
Lib Dem councillor Ruth Polling, Islington council’s equalities chief, said:
“It’s important to us that Islington Council stays at the forefront of ensuring equal treatment for gay people.
“We were overjoyed to win the landmark Registrar case, and we are making it crystal clear that we expect all council employees to provide services to all people, regardless of who they are.
“We are also committing to redouble our efforts to get out into the community and fight on behalf of the gay people who are still suffering from homophobia and even violence – pupils in our schools, older gay people in care, and people from some minority communities.”
Islington is one of 33 London councils.