Same-sex civil partnership ceremonies

The Court of Appeal has upheld the Employment Appeals Tribunal’s (EAT) decision that Islington Council did not unlawfully discriminate against an orthodox Christian registrar by requiring her to officiate at same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.

Whilst the Court of Appeal has some sympathy for the claimant, Ms Ladele, and agreed that she had been treated unfairly in some respects by the Council, it dismissed her claims of direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of religion.

The judgment states that only on a ‘pedantically literal’ interpretation of some of Islington’s comments could it be inferred that she had been treated less favourably because of her religion. Employers are expected to promote equal treatment in the services they provide, and this decision confirms that they cannot be expected to do so if they have to accommodate discrimination on the part of their staff.

Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) has so far been refused.

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