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Lillian Ladele ruling upholds equality law

December 17, 2009 2:38 PM

The Appeal Court has ruled that Islington Council was justified in compelling its employee, registrar Lillian Ladele, to perform same-sex civil partnership ceremonies to which she objected on religious grounds. Ms Ladele tried to argue that her rights under EU employment law not to suffer discrimination due to her religious views took precedence. But her argument that as a Christian she should not be forced to carry out duties conflicting with her opposition to homosexual relationships was dismissed.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford, a member of the European Parliament's gay & lesbian intergroup and vice-president of DELGA, the Liberal Democrat LGBT equality group, commented: "Today's ruling is of the utmost importance. It makes crystal clear that public servants cannot indulge their own personal disapproval so as to discriminate in the provision of services to a section of the public, including the gay community. I am delighted that 'staff conscience' cannot be invoked as a pretext for prejudice."

"I am proud that EU equalities law provides protection against unjustified discrimination at work. But it must not be twisted in order to excuse second-class treatment or exclusion of people to whom Councils and other public bodies rightly wish to give a full service."