Islington Registrar Decision Enshrines Discrimination

Homophobia is legitimate, says employment tribunal.


London – 10 July 2008

“This decision sanctions the right of religious people to discriminate against others who they disagree with. It is a dangerous subversion of the democratic principle that everyone should have equal rights and responsibilities under the law,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

He was commenting on the legal decision in favour of Islington registrar Lillian Ladele, who refused to conduct same-sex civil partnerships on the grounds that it conflicted with her religious beliefs.

“The tribunal has ruled that people of faith are above the law,” added Mr Tatchell.

“They can plead conscientious objection and be exempt from the laws that apply to everyone else.

“If this judgement stands, it will pave the way for religious people to have the legal entitlement to discriminate on conscientious grounds against people of other faiths, unmarried parents and many others who they condemn as immoral.

“We could soon find religious police officers, solicitors, fire fighters and doctors refusing to serve members of the public who they find morally objectionable – and being allowed to do so by the law.

“Lillian Ladele claims she was won a victory for religious liberty. No, she has not. She has won a victory for the right to discriminate. The denial of equal treatment is not a human right. It is a violation of human rights.

“Public servants like registrars have a duty to serve all members of the public without fear or favour. Once society lets some people opt out of upholding the law, where will it end?” queried Mr Tatchell.