I am still reeling over the findings of the Employment Tribunal in Ladele v London Borough of Islington. Ladele was a registrar who found that her religious beliefs as an othodox Christian were not comptible with performing civil registrations. She complained to the Tribunal which unanimously founf that she had been directly discriminated against on the grounds of religion and belief, that she had been indirectly discriminated against on the grounds of religion and belief and that she had suffereed harassment on the grounds of religion and belief. The fact that there were two gay employees who had to listen to her justification for refusal to perform civil registrations as being "marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others and that marriage is the God ordained place for sexual relations." just shows that religion and belief can interfere above the state even in a secular society. The whole pint of civil marriages and that civil registrations is that they are not ordained before God. One of the main arguments from some of LGBT people is that they want to have marriage and want the chance to have their unions recognised by God. The very fact they can only have civil registered partnerships denies them that. Ladele told the tribunal that she could not reconcile her faith with taking an active part in enabling same sex unions to be formed and that she believed this to be contrary to God's instructions that sexual relations belong exclusively between a man and a woman within marriage. Therefore even if the law introduced same sex marriage, her God's law woould be above the state law and this tribunal ruling would allow her to act outside the law.
This opens the gateway for refusal of services and conscience decisions being made for example, on the provision of abortion and I hope that Islington will appeal. I am stillreading the transcript of the tribunal decision and will be blogging more about this case, the more I read and when I hve looked at the other caselaw that the tribuunal relied on. It makees for depressing reading and no doubt UNISON's National LGBT Committee will be discussing this further at their meeting on the 19th July 2008.
Also see Craig's Blog - Beyond belief