Christian registrar Lillian Ladele refused leave to appeal to Supreme Court

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A Christian registrar who was disciplined because she would not officiate civil partnerships has been refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Lillian Ladele resigned from Islington council in 2007 after being threatened with the sack. She claims she was a victim of discrimination because of her religious beliefs.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court, the highest court in the UK, said her case did not raise legal points of “general public importance”.

Her lawyers have argued she was the victim of a witch-hunt and was shunned by her colleagues for refusing to carry out civil partnerships.

Ms Ladele, who said her rights had been “trampled” by gay couples, is now considering whether to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

In a statement given to the Daily Telegraph, she said: “I am actively discussing with my lawyers the possibility of an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

“When the rights of different groups clash, as they have in my case, surely there must be a proportionate attempt to balance those competing rights. In my case, one set of rights was trampled by another set of rights.

“That cannot be right in a free and democratic society. I believe my case raises important issues of liberty that deserve further consideration by the courts.”

Ms Ladele’s case is being funded by the Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

Spokesman Mike Judge said: “Christians will feel let down by the Supreme Court decision.

“It will only serve to reinforce the impression that Christians are being pushed to the sidelines of public life. Our nation’s highest court has effectively told them their concerns are not of general public importance.”

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society welcomed the Supreme Court ruling and warned that the case could have been a serious threat to gay equality laws.

He told “It’s very good news from our perspective. It puts an end to a challenge to our equality laws which could have been very dangerous for gay rights.

“I certainly hope she will not take it to the European Court of Human Rights, although she probably won’t get very far if she does. The case could have completely undermined the concept of freedom and equality in the law.”

The Supreme Court decision is the latest round in Ms Ladele’s three-year battle. In December, the Court of Appeal ruled against her.

An employment tribunal in 2008 had ruled in her favour but Islington council successfully appealed the decision at the Employment Appeals Tribunal.