England

Scientology Supreme Court case couple get married

  • 23 February 2014
  • From the section England

A couple who won a Supreme Court challenge have got married in a Church of Scientology chapel in London.

Louisa Hodkin started the legal action after officials refused to register the Church of Scientology chapel as a place for marriage for her and fiance Alessandro Calcioli.

In December, five Supreme Court judges ruled the church was a "place of meeting for religious worship".

After the wedding, Mr Calcioli said he was "ecstatic" about the occasion.

He added he was "a little bit speechless but just so, so happy that this day has finally come".

The couple emerged from the chapel at about 15:00 GMT.

Ms Hodkin said she was proud her victory had ended "inequality".

The chapel had initially been refused as a wedding venue due to a 1970 High Court ruling which said Scientology services were not "acts of worship".

Ms Hodkin had 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.

The Church of Scientology of London
The ceremony was the first to be held at the London chapel

Ms Hodkin and Mr Calcioli, both 25 and from East Grinstead, West Sussex, said: "It has been a long, five-year battle to achieve a simple freedom - the right to marry in our own church with a service in accordance with the rites and customs of our religion and surrounded by our friends and family.

"We are pleased and proud that our victory brings to an end inequality and unfairness, not just for Scientologists, but for people of all faiths - because the Supreme Court have now provided a definitive description of what a religion is, which had not existed before in English law."

A Church of Scientology spokesman said: "We are delighted that Louisa and Alessandro can now be married in their church in front of their family and fellow parishioners. They have paved the way for other Scientologist couples."

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