Islington Council has launched a new ‘gay rights’ charter in response to a case involving a Christian registrar who had a religious objection to performing homosexual civil partnerships.
Miss Lillian Ladele was disciplined and threatened with the sack after she asked for her religious beliefs to be accommodated at the Council.
She won an initial employment tribunal ruling of religious discrimination but Islington successfully appealed. Miss Ladele is seeking to appeal the case to the Court of Appeal.
In the meantime Islington Council has announced a new gay rights charter, the Sexual Orientation Equalities Scheme, which is expected to be agreed by the Council Executive tomorrow.
The Council already has a ‘Dignity For All’ policy document which promotes equality across various strands including both sexuality and religion without making one strand more important than another.
Liberal Democrat 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.”
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “Islington Council admits that it has been able to deliver a ‘first class’ civil partnership service to homosexual couples without Miss Ladele’s involvement.
“No homosexual couple has been denied access to Council services because of Miss Ladele’s religious beliefs, but they disciplined her anyway.
“Announcing a gold-plated charter for gay rights when a Dignity For All policy already exists could be seen by some to be establishing a hierarchy of rights with sexual orientation at the summit.
“The last census shows that a majority of Islington residents identify themselves as Christian. Will Islington be producing a charter of religious rights?”