Thursday, December 20, 2012

British Court, Citing Precedent, Says Scientology Chapel Cannot Be Registered As Place of Worship

A British trial court in Hodkin v. Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, (High Ct., Dec. 19, 2012), upheld the refusal by the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages in England and Wales to register a Church of Scientology chapel as "a place of meeting for religious worship." (Court summary of decision.) Without such registration, marriages cannot be solemnized in the chapel to the dismay of plaintiff, a 23-year old Scientologist who wants to marry her fiance in Scientology's London Church Chapel.  The High Court held that it was bound by a 1970 Court of Appeal decision holding that Scientology services did not involve acts of worship, so their chapels did not qualify under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855.  (See prior related posting.) The Telegraph reports on the decision.