Supreme Court judges allow Scientology wedding

The Argus: Supreme Court judges allow Scientology wedding Supreme Court judges allow Scientology wedding

A Sussex woman who wants to marry in a Church of Scientology chapel in central London has won a battle in the UK's highest court.

Scientologist Louisa Hodkin, of Copthorne Road, East Grinstead, took her fight to the Supreme Court after a High Court judge ruled that services run by Scientologists were not ''acts of worship''.

Five Supreme Court justices analysed the case at a hearing in London in July and ruled in her favour on Wednesday, announcing that the Scientology church was a "place of meeting for religious worship".

Miss Hodkin wants to marry fiance Alessandro Calcioli in a Church of Scientology chapel in central London.

Miss Hodkin said: “My fiancé and I have always believed in the fairness of the British legal process.

“It’s been a long and demanding journey, but the Supreme Court’s decision today has made it all worthwhile. We are really excited that we can now get married, and thank our family and friends for all of their patience and support.”

She took legal action after the registrar general of births, deaths and marriages refused to register the London Church Chapel for the solemnisation of marriages under the 1855 Places of Worship Registration Act - because it was not a place for ''religious worship''.

Supreme Court justices said religion should not be confined to faiths involving a "supreme deity".

They said the Church of Scientology held religious services, therefore its church was a "place of meeting for religious worship".

The justices unanimously allowed Miss Hodkin's appeal against the High Court ruling.

In 1970 the Church of Scientology launched a similar case.

Then the Court of Appeal ruled that Scientology did not involve religious worship because there was no "veneration of God or of a Supreme Being".

Miss Hodkin lost her High Court fight in December 2012 when Mr Justice Ouseley said he was bound by the 1970 Court of Appeal decision and therefore had to dismiss her challenge.

But he said Supreme Court justices should consider the question of whether Scientologists worshipped.

He said that because the Supreme Court was a more senior court than the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court justices might take a different view.

Miss Hodkin argued that the 1970 ruling should not be binding because Scientologist beliefs and services had evolved during the past four decades.

She said services were ''ones of religious worship'' and likened Scientology to Buddhism and Jainism.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles had welcomed Mr Justice Ouseley's ruling.

Mr Pickles said the Church of Scientology might have been entitled to ''tax breaks'' - because of rules governing places of public worship - had a decision gone in its favour.

He said taxpayers would not want ''such a controversial organisation'' to get ''special'' treatment.

Comments (7)

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4:38pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Ashles says...

The aliens will be delighted.
The aliens will be delighted. Ashles

6:39pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Ambo Guy says...

CULT CULT CULT CULT CULT CULT CULT CULT

What an evil organisation Scientology is.
CULT CULT CULT CULT CULT CULT CULT CULT What an evil organisation Scientology is. Ambo Guy

7:33pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Roundbill says...

Poor Anna: I bet your inbox is already filling up with messages from the comedy cult's goons.
Poor Anna: I bet your inbox is already filling up with messages from the comedy cult's goons. Roundbill

8:33pm Wed 11 Dec 13

LoveUK says...

This is absolutely scandalous, they are a dangerous sect
This is absolutely scandalous, they are a dangerous sect LoveUK

10:02pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Bill in Hanover says...

LoveUK wrote:
This is absolutely scandalous, they are a dangerous sect
Much as I disagre with their methods and beliefs, if Pastafarianism (Yes they do believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster) can be officially classed as a religion then even a sect like Scientology can.
[quote][p][bold]LoveUK[/bold] wrote: This is absolutely scandalous, they are a dangerous sect[/p][/quote]Much as I disagre with their methods and beliefs, if Pastafarianism (Yes they do believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster) can be officially classed as a religion then even a sect like Scientology can. Bill in Hanover

9:43am Wed 25 Dec 13

Reinhard Rieder says...

Scientology’s bona fides have been officially recognized by a number of governmental agencies and public authorities in the United Kingdom. These include: The Ministry of Defence, which has officially recognized the Scientology religion in the Royal Navy (1996). HM Customs and Excise, which classifies the Church as a religious organization (2001). Inland Revenue, which ruled that Church staff serve out of a religious commitment rather than financial award (2001). http://wp.me/p2Cfx3-
1hR

In the Netherlands the Church of Scientology has benefited from a decision (October 2013) in the Appeals Tax Court of Amsterdam, which finds that the organisation “is operated exclusively for the public benefit and its activities are religious and ideological in nature” and therefore the Church’s revenues are now tax exempt. http://bit.ly/1bRVeK
x
Scientology’s bona fides have been officially recognized by a number of governmental agencies and public authorities in the United Kingdom. These include: The Ministry of Defence, which has officially recognized the Scientology religion in the Royal Navy (1996). HM Customs and Excise, which classifies the Church as a religious organization (2001). Inland Revenue, which ruled that Church staff serve out of a religious commitment rather than financial award (2001). http://wp.me/p2Cfx3- 1hR In the Netherlands the Church of Scientology has benefited from a decision (October 2013) in the Appeals Tax Court of Amsterdam, which finds that the organisation “is operated exclusively for the public benefit and its activities are religious and ideological in nature” and therefore the Church’s revenues are now tax exempt. http://bit.ly/1bRVeK x Reinhard Rieder

9:46am Wed 25 Dec 13

Reinhard Rieder says...

Scientology’s bona fides have been officially recognized by a number of governmental agencies and public authorities in the United Kingdom. These include: The Ministry of Defence, which has officially recognized the Scientology religion in the Royal Navy (1996). HM Customs and Excise, which classifies the Church as a religious organization (2001). Inland Revenue, which ruled that Church staff serve out of a religious commitment rather than financial award (2001).
http://wp.me/p2Cfx3-
1hR

In the Netherlands the Church of Scientology has benefited from a decision (October 2013) in the Appeals Tax Court of Amsterdam, which finds that the organisation “is operated exclusively for the public benefit and its activities are religious and ideological in nature” and therefore the Church’s revenues are now tax exempt.
http://bit.ly/1bRVeK
x
Scientology’s bona fides have been officially recognized by a number of governmental agencies and public authorities in the United Kingdom. These include: The Ministry of Defence, which has officially recognized the Scientology religion in the Royal Navy (1996). HM Customs and Excise, which classifies the Church as a religious organization (2001). Inland Revenue, which ruled that Church staff serve out of a religious commitment rather than financial award (2001). http://wp.me/p2Cfx3- 1hR In the Netherlands the Church of Scientology has benefited from a decision (October 2013) in the Appeals Tax Court of Amsterdam, which finds that the organisation “is operated exclusively for the public benefit and its activities are religious and ideological in nature” and therefore the Church’s revenues are now tax exempt. http://bit.ly/1bRVeK x Reinhard Rieder

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