THE Supreme Court last month heard an appeal from a member of
the Church of Scientology who seeks to be married in a Scientology
chapel in London.
The appellant, Louisa Ishbel Hodkin, is engaged to be married to
Alessandro Calcioli, also a Scientologist, and they wish to
celebrate their marriage through a legally recognised Scientology
wedding. In order for a venue to be licensed for the solemnisation
of a marriage under the Marriage Act 1949, it must be registered as
a "place of meeting for religious worship" under the Places of
Worship Registration Act 1855.
The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages refused to
register the chapel in Victoria Street, London EC4, as a place of
meeting for religious worship. That refusal was based on a previous
decision of the Court of Appeal in 1970, which upheld a registrar's
refusal to register another Scientology church as a place of
meeting for religious worship.
Miss Hodkin unsuccessfully applied to the High Court for
judicial review to challenge the refusal. She has now appealed to
the Supreme Court, invoking the Equality Act and the Human Rights
Act. The Supreme Court's decision is not expected before