Victory in European Cross case; other claims dismissed | Alliance Defending Freedom

ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM NEWS RELEASE
15 January 2013 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT PHONE: +43 1 904 9555 / E-MAIL: globalmedia@alliancedefendingfreedom.org

Victory in European Cross case; other claims dismissed

European Court defends right to wear cross but overrides Christian conscience in other cases

STRASBOURG, France — The European Court of Human Rights has today handed down its decision in four pivotal religious freedom cases originating in the United Kingdom. In today’s ruling, the court held that the United Kingdom had violated the right to freedom of religion under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights with respect to one of the applicants, Nadia Eweida, and dismissed the other three claims. The decision of the court is not yet final and can be appealed to the Grand Chamber of the court.

 

“Today’s victory for one of the Christian applicants is a significant step forward for religious freedom in Europe,” said Senior Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “However, it is extremely disappointing that the court ruled against the three other applicants, and it is hoped that they will appeal the decision to the Grand Chamber of the court.”

 

“Christian employees should not be singled out for discrimination,” said Kiska, who is based in Vienna, Austria. “No one should have to hide their faith or act contrary to it. This type of intolerance is inconsistent with the values of civilized communities.”

 

The court joined the four religious freedom cases from the United Kingdom into one single judgment.

 

Eweida and Chaplin v. United Kingdom involved Christian women who were told they must either cover up or remove their cross necklaces. One of the women, Nadia Eweida, worked at the British Airways check-in counter at Heathrow Airport in London. The other, Shirley Chaplin, worked as a nurse at a government-run hospital and had worn her confirmation cross without incident for more than 30 years in front line care. In both cases, accommodation was made for some employees of other faiths, such as Hindus or Muslims, but not for these women.

 

Ladele and McFarlane v. United Kingdom involved two Christians fired for declining to engage in acts contrary to their faith. Lillian Ladele is a Christian woman with sincerely held beliefs about the sanctity of traditional marriage. After 16 years in her position and an exemplary employment record, she was disciplined after she asked to be exempt from registering same-sex civil partnerships–a service that had never been part of her original job description. Gary McFarlane is a Christian and once served as an elder of a large church in Bristol. Despite being a successful counselor for a large national counseling service, McFarlane was dismissed for gross misconduct after mentioning on a training course that providing same-sex couples with psycho-sexual therapy would be in violation of his conscience and deeply held religious beliefs.

 

Alliance Defending Freedom provided funding for the case of Nadia Eweida in the domestic courts and, in 2011, Alliance Defending Freedom, together with former Slovakian Prime Minister and key figure in the Velvet Revolution Jan Carnogursky, intervened in defence of the four Christians. In September 2012, Legal Counsel Paul Coleman was present at the counsel’s table during the hearings alongside Barrister Paul Diamond, lead counsel in the Chaplin and McFarlane cases and one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.

 

 

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal organisation that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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Alliance Defending Freedom Statement: Religious freedom prevails at European court…in part

ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM COMMENT
January 15, 2013 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/contact

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Roger Kiska regarding the decision of the European Court of Human Rights Tuesday to uphold religious freedom in the case Eweida v. United Kingdom while dismissing cases of religious discrimination in three other British cases:

“Christian employees should not be singled out for discrimination. No one should have to hide their faith or act contrary to it. That type of intolerance is inconsistent with the values of civilized communities. Today’s victory for one of the Christian applicants is a significant step forward for religious freedom in Europe; however, it is extremely disappointing that the court ruled against the three other applicants. We hope they will appeal that decision to the Grand Chamber of the court.”

Alliance Defending Freedom provided funding for the case of Nadia Eweida in the domestic courts. In 2011, Alliance Defending Freedom and former Slovakian Prime Minister and key figure in the Velvet Revolution Jan Carnogursky intervened in defense of the four Christians. Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Paul Coleman was present at the counsel’s table during the September 2012 European Court of Human Rights hearings alongside Barrister Paul Diamond. Diamond is lead counsel in the Chaplin and McFarlane cases and one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.

A full news release will be issued shortly. It will be available on the resource page for Eweida and Chaplin v. United Kingdom and Ladele and McFarlane v. United Kingdom.

 

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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