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Religious Belief v Sexual Orientation

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[Thanks to Claire Darwin of Matrix Chambers for summarising this case]

The Court of Appeal has this morning handed down its judgment in Ladele v London Borough of Islington (the Christian registrar case).

It is authority for the proposition that there is nothing in the Religion or Belief Regulations 2003 that entitled Ms Ladele, as a civil partnership registrar, to insist on her right not to have civil partnership duties assigned to her because of her belief that civil partnerships were contrary to the will of God.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the EAT that Ms Ladele was neither directly nor indirectly discriminated against, nor harassed contrary to the 2003 Regulations, by being designated a civil partnership registrar, by being required to officiate at civil partnerships, or by any other aspect of her treatment by Islington. 

Interestingly, the Court of Appeal (unlike the EAT) did go on to consider the conflict of rights issue, namely whether the effect of the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007 is to "trump" the right to freedom of religion. The Court of Appeal held that the prohibition of discrimination by the 2007 Regulations took precedence over any right which a person would otherwise have by virtue of their religious belief or faith, to practice discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation (save for in the limited circumstances provided for in Regulation 14 of those Regulations).