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Scientology request is heard

02 August 2013


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 October.

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