LONDON, May 29, 2013 ( – Lillian Ladele, a civil marriage registrar who brought a suit against her employers for trying to force her to participate in same-sex civil partnership ceremonies, has been denied the right to appeal a complaint previously dismissed by the European Court of Human Rights. She has been told that she can take her complaint of anti-Christian discrimination no further.

Ladele was demoted by Islington Council for which she worked, and where she complained that a hostile environment had been created because of her conscientious objection. She later resigned her position that she had held since 1992. She had joined hundreds of couples at the Islington Town Hall until the advent of the Civil Partnership Act came into effect in December 2005.


When she asked to be excused on the grounds of her conscience, her employers refused and, she claimed, started a deliberate programme of harassment. Ladele’s complaint was upheld by the London Employment tribunal, but lost subsequent court cases when the council appealed.

Ladele was among the three Christians who lost their cases for discrimination at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in January. The ECHR ruled that the council had “not exceeded the margin of appreciation available to them” when it came “to striking a balance between competing rights”. Two other Christians, Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who had been told to remove a small cross she wore to work, and Gary McFarlane a relationship counsellor who had refused to work with homosexual partners, also had their applications for appeal turned down.

Ladele’s case was supported by the Christian Institute, whose spokesman said yesterday that the ECHR ruling “confirms our fears that people with Christian beliefs about marriage will be penalised in the workplace”.

“Human rights laws are supposed to stop the power of the state being used to penalise people for their beliefs and opinions, particularly when those beliefs challenge the prevailing orthodoxy.”