Christian registrar in employment dispute with Islington council over civil partnerships
Registrar and Christian, Miss Lillian Ladele, is asking an Employment Tribunal to confirm that she can be exempted by her Council on the grounds of conscience from forming same sex unions. Solicitors acting for Miss Ladele say that forcing her to take part in forming civil partnerships is an infringement of Regulation 10 of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. The case is scheduled to be heard at an employment tribunal in London on Tuesday, 20 May and is expected to last four days.
A variety of pictures of Miss Ladele are available from The Christian Institute’s website (see below for more information). Audio snippets of Miss Ladele discussing her case are also available. Miss Ladele, who has worked in the Registration Service for nearly 16 years, issues the following public statement:
“I hold orthodox Christian beliefs about marriage and same sex unions. Similar beliefs are held within sections of the Jewish and Muslim communities. Some people will agree with my beliefs, others will not. This is a subject on which there are a variety of views in our society. As a matter of religious conscience, I simply can’t take part in the formation of a civil partnership.
The law places a duty on local authorities to provide civil partnerships registration, but does not require all registrars to take part in the registration process. My local authority provides a civil partnership service, but it is one that it agrees does not actually require my involvement.
Since 2004 I have therefore been asking to be excused from civil partnership duties, allowing my colleagues to do these duties instead. I am not seeking to obstruct people forming civil partnerships and I have many colleagues who are willing to assist with the formation of civil partnerships. Other local authorities in this situation have agreed to accommodate individual consciences. Unfortunately, after nearly 16 years’ service, this is unacceptable to my local authority, although it has decided it is acceptable for colleagues to choose not to work with me because they object to my religious beliefs.
I believe that forcing someone to work contrary to their conscience and under threat of dismissal is not right. If we are genuine when we talk about diversity and equality then shouldn’t we be prepared to tolerate a range of views, not simply those we agree with?”
Pictures: Various Hi-Res images of Miss Ladele at: http://www.christian.org.uk/ladeleimages.htm
Audio: MP3 file of Miss Ladele discussing the case at: http://www.christian.org.uk/ladeleaudio.htm