Religious Homophobia: Triumphant!

It’s scarcely fathomable, but Lillian Ladele has won. You may remember her – the Islington civil registrar who refused to conduct civil partnerships, despite it being a secular function of a secular job under a secular employer, who in turn was bound by the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004. The tribunal ruled:

“Islington Council rightly considered the importance of the right of the gay community not to be discriminated against, but did not consider the right of Miss Ladele as a member of a religious group.”

Absolute nonsense. As I put on my previous post on this subject, the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 do allow her employer the right to discriminate indirectly against her religion, on the condition that they can justify it. The legislation governing the non-discriminatory provision of good and services to gay people, as well as the Civil Partnership Act provide just such justification, and it’s ridiculous that the employment tribunal should rule otherwise. It’s irrelevant that the function of providing registrars for civil partnerships has been unaffected by her trying to opt out – the point surely must be that even when there is a clash of human rights such as this, an individual employed in a secular job, with a secular employer, whose job description is secular and bound by anti-discrimination laws and policies must not then be allowed to pick and choose what they will and won’t do on the grounds of belief. Ladele said in response to the ruling:

“It is a victory for religious liberty, not just for myself but for others in a similar position to mine.

“Gay rights should not be used as an excuse to bully and harass people over their religious beliefs,” she said.

What she means of course is that religious rights should instead be used as an excuse to bully and harass people over their sexual orientation. It is a victory which allows the freedom (for there is no such ‘right’) to discriminate freely on the grounds of belief, the dangers of which should be clear to anyone who engages with the world in a rational manner. Peter Tatchell added:

“If this judgment 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?”

Mike Judge from the anti-gay Christian Institute responded:

“This important ruling confirms that gay rights should not be treated as trumping religious rights.”

“If we really believe in equality before the law, that means respecting people who have sincerely held religious beliefs on sexual ethics.

“The witch hunt against those who disagree with homosexual practice has to stop.”

That is quite mendacious and self-serving. There is no human right codified anywhere which allows discrimination, nor has anyone suggested that gay rights supersede religious rights, particularly because they are not fundamentally in conflict with one another. However, as has been shown many times recently even on this blog, there are theists who believe they are entitled to abuse the law which allows them rights against discrimination for their belief, to themselves discriminate. They are wrong. Islington Council has said it is considering an appeal. For the sake of our civil society, which is governed by equality and the rule of law, rather than by belief, superstition and scripture, I hope they do.

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13 responses to “Religious Homophobia: Triumphant!

  1. Charles Vintcent

    WELL DONE Lilian. It’s about time these pushy and bent groups such as the gays and ‘human rights’ rent-a-mob were given a bloody nose. They discriminate against ordinary heterosexual people, and the have managed to get the Archwinp on their side. Enough is enough. Let them go back to the public conveniencies which is where they belong. I wish there were many more like Lilian Ladele.

  2. I could agree with you more. I wrote a whole piece regarding this very subject after California overturned its ban on “gay marriage.”

    If you get a chance, and want to give it a read, its here:
    http://mondaymorningpunter.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/on-same-sex-marriage/

    I like your blog, and think you are a fantastic writer. Keep up the good work.

    Peace.

    jC aka the Monday Morning Punter

  3. and I mean’t “i couldN’T” agree with you more.”

    jC

  4. “If this judgment doen’t stand, it will pave the way for gay rights people to have the legal entitlement to discriminate againts many others who they condemn as immoral.

    “We could soon find gay rights 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.

    “Stonewall claim thay have lost a victory for freedom”

    “Theye have lost a fight to discriminate. The denial of respect for religious beliefs is not a human right. It is a violation of human rights.

  5. Requiring an employee who is a theist or not not to discriminate on any grounds in their work which is in this instance secular, is not a violation of anyone’s human rights, I don’t know where you got that from. It’s quite the opposite – it’s an upholding of human rights. There is no human right which upholds anyone’s right to discriminate on the grounds of belief. I’d also read my previous post on the matter – the law is quite clear that when there is an operational reason to justify indirect discrimination on the grounds of religion then it is lawful. This ruling is flawed on numerous grounds and must be challenged.

  6. Great so the next time a muslim refuses to service a christian, or a woman it’ll be within their rights to do so. pretty stupid judge.

  7. Quite upsetting this, really, and a fairly absurd ruling. It reminds me of the cases in the US where Christian fundamentalist drugstore staff refused to hand out morning after pills. WTF? If Ms Ladele doesn’t want to perform part of her job, for whatever reason, she should find something else to do.

  8. Pingback: Anti-Gay Theist Marches Into Counselling! « Cosmodaddy

  9. An update on this case. The appeal was held on Wednesday 10 Dec. It looks very hopeful that it the ruling in favour of Ladele will be overturned.

    Justice Sir Patrick Elias, President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Chair of the three-person panel apparently said that the original ruling was based on “a fundamental error”.

    The decision is expected some time before Christmas.

  10. Pingback: Lilian Ladele’s Victory - Trashed! « Cosmodaddy

  11. Pingback: Lillian Ladele Loses! « Cosmodaddy

  12. Pingback: Lillian Ladele Loses Right to Appeal « Cosmodaddy

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