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Appeal won by registrar who refused to conduct same-sex weddings

05 September 2014

iSTOCK

A CHRISTIAN registrar, Margaret Jones, who was sacked after saying that she would not conduct same-sex weddings has been reinstated after a successful appeal.

Ms Jones (above), who is 54, was dismissed by Bedford Register Office in May after she told her managers she would not officiate at gay marriages because, as a Christian, she believed that marriage was only between a man and a woman.

She had been accused of "gross misconduct" and "bringing the council into disrepute" after refusing to back down, despite being told to officiate at same-sex weddings or resign. But she has now been reinstated after a panel of Central Bedfordshire Council members found that Ms Jones's employers had not sought hard enough to accommodate her religious beliefs.

Ms Jones, who had said that she was willing to do the paperwork for same-sex weddings, argued in her witness statement that, as no gay weddings had come up during her shifts, she had been sacked for her convictions, not her actions. "I want people who get married to have a good experience, and I don't think I could stand up and say that it 'gives me great pleasure' to declare a gay couple married," she said.

Paul Diamond, barrister for the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Ms Jones in her appeal, said: "All good employers should follow this precedent, and practising Christians should no longer fear expressing their beliefs."

Ms Jones said that she would not return to her position, as the process had left her disillusioned.

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