A victory for religious liberty over Labour's equality agenda
In its unanimous judgment, the employment tribunal found that was directly discriminated against by Islington Council after she asked to be allowed not to perform civil partnership registrations. The ruling said that Islington council ‘placed a greater value on the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community than it placed on the rights of Ms Ladele as one holding an orthodox Christian belief’.
This is a highly significant victory for religious liberty which has considerable implications for other individuals who find themselves in similar positions. The law now recognises that gay rights should not automatically trump religious rights. Although the case sets no binding legal precedent, it will oblige employers to give serious consideration to the religious views of employees.
The Christian Institute writes: ‘The tribunal confirmed that the various acts of direct discrimination committed against Miss Ladele by Islington Council on the grounds of her religious belief included: failing to consider her for promotion; deciding to discipline her and threatening her with dismissal; concluding she had committed gross misconduct; failing to redress allegations that she was ‘homophobic’ and labelling and treating her as homophobic; disregarding her concerns about her treatment; and failing to apply its anti-discrimination policies to homosexual colleagues who were mistreating her. The tribunal also accepted that Islington Council had been able to deliver a ‘first-class’ service to homosexual couples seeking civil partnerships, without Miss Ladele’s involvement. Therefore, the Council’s decision to require Miss Ladele to perform civil partnership registrations, contrary to her conscience, was an unlawful act of indirect religious discrimination.’
This is a commonsense decision. Freedom of religious conscience must be protected in law as it has been for centuries.
But Cranmer is a little puzzled.
If public servants, who are paid by taxpayers to deliver public services, are able to pick and choose to whom they deliver those services, why are the Roman Catholic adoption agencies, also in receipt of public funds, not similarly able to exercise discrimination on the grounds of their orthodox Christian belief?
Or is it simply that most of them simply caved in like cowards before any cases were brought to court?