13:50 12 December 2013
A 25-year-old scientologist has been granted the right to get married at the Church of Scientology chapel in Central London after five Supreme Court Justices officially recognised Scientology as a religion.
Britain’s highest court said that worshipping a god is not essential to a religion.
Delivering the lead judgment, Lord Toulson said: “Unless there is some compelling contextual reason for holding otherwise, religion should not be confined to religions which recognise a supreme deity.”
“First and foremost, to do so would be a form of religious discrimination unacceptable in today’s society.”
Miss Hodkin and her fiancée Alessandro Calciolli, said that the landmark decision was a victory for freedom of worship.
Miss Hodkin added: “My fiancé and I have always believed in the fairness of the British legal process.”
However, ministers were alarmed as the decision could open the way for the group to claim lucrative tax breaks worth hundreds of thousands of pounds per year and other legal privileges.
Brandon Lewis, the local government minister, said: “I am very concerned about this ruling, and its implications for business rates.
“In the face of concerns raised by Conservatives in Opposition, Labour Ministers told Parliament during the passage of the Equalities Bill that Scientology would continue to fall outside the religious exemption for business rates.”
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