Christian registrar refuses to perform civil partnerships

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An official in the London Borough of Islington is taking the council to court because she claims she should be exempted from performing civil partnership ceremonies.

The unnamed marriage registrar, who is a devout Christian, has refused to take part in any of the 600-plus civil partnerships entered into in the borough since they became legal just over two years ago.

Yesterday an Islington council spokesperson told the Evening Standard:

“A claim has been made to an employment tribunal which Islington Council is defending robustly. The council does not intend to comment further.”

Gay equality organisation Stonewall’s director of public affairs Derek Munn told

“All public servants are paid to uphold the law of the land,”

“Doubtless there were those forty years ago who claimed a moral objection to mixed marriages between those of different ethnic origins. Discrimination on any basis is equally unacceptable.”

Legal experts told that they could not see any way that a tribunal could rule in the registrar’s favour.

In a recent case a Christian magistrate who was refused permission to opt out of ruling on gay adoptions lost his case at an employment tribunal.

64-year-old Andrew McClintock’s legal action against the Lord Chancellor, claiming that his Bible-influenced opinions should allow him to be excused, was rejected by a Sheffield employment tribunal.

“Gay couples have human rights too,” the tribunal said.

In October an employment appeal tribunal rejected his appeal.

18,000 civil partnerships took place in the UK since they were introduced in December 2005 and the end of December 2006.

1,600 partnerships were formed each month between January and March 2006, falling to 1,500 between April and September and 800 between October and December.

60% of civil partners were male and they tend to be older than female civil partners.