Christian Institute

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Christian Institute logo.jpg
Abbreviation CI
Formation 1991
Type Christian pressure group
Headquarters Wilberforce House,
4 Park Road,
Gosforth Business Park,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE12 8DG.
Director Colin Hart
Website http://www.christian.org.uk

The Christian Institute (CI) is a British evangelical Christian pressure group run by Colin Hart. The CI promotes a Conservative Christian viewpoint, founded on belief in Biblical inerrancy.[1][2] The CI is a registered charity.[2] The group does not report numbers of staff or volunteers with only the Director, Colin Hart, listed as a representative.[3]

While the CI has campaigned on issues including gambling, abortion and euthanasia, it is most notable for its campaigns against gay rights. The CI sought to retain Section 28 and a higher age of consent for homosexuals, and opposed the Civil Partnership Act, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and legislation giving gay couples the right to adopt.[4] It has opposed measures to prevent gay people being discriminated against in the provision of services and goods.[5] The Civil Partnership Act 2004, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and the Equality Act 2010 were ultimately enacted by Parliament.

The Christian Institute's activities resulted in censure by The Charity Commission in 2001, for breaching rules limiting overt political campaigning by charities, by "publishing a 100-page report, Homosexuality and Young People (1998), which argued against reforming anti-homosexual law with no reference at all to a Christian view."[6]

In 2004, the CI funded a full-page newspaper advertisement in The Times in support of a controversial amendment to the Civil Partnership Bill.[7] The amendment attempted to include within the scope of the Bill siblings who had lived together for longer than 12 years.[8] The amendment was ultimately rejected in both Houses of Parliament. In response to the advertisement, Members of Parliament questioned the CI's overt political campaigning in light of its charitable status.[9]

Legal actions[edit]

In 2000, the CI became the only group to initiate a court case for an alleged breach of the now defunct Section 28. The case failed.[10]

In 2007, the CI and others unsuccessfully sought a judicial review of the Sexual Orientation Regulations in Northern Ireland.[11]

In May 2008, the CI funded[12] the legal costs of Lillian Ladele, a registrar from Islington, London, who took her employer, Islington London Borough Council, to the London Central Employment Tribunal. Ladele had refused to process the paperwork associated with civil partnerships on religious grounds, and following complaints from other staff she was disciplined under the Council's Fairness for All policy. Ladele claimed she had been subject to direct and indirect discrimination, and harassment in the workplace, on grounds of her religion. In July 2008, the tribunal found in Ladele's favour; however this ruling was overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in December, 2008.[13] The CI later launched an unsuccessful appeal against this ruling in the High Court, and has been refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.[14][15]

In 2010, the CI funded the defence of two Christian hotel owners accused of acting unlawfully under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, by refusing to let a gay couple in a civil partnership stay in a double room reserved for married couples.[16] The owners lost both the case and the subsequent appeal.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christian Institute Homepage
  2. ^ a b The Christian Institute, Registered Charity no. 1004774 at the Charity Commission
  3. ^ About Us
  4. ^ Counterfeit Marriage on Christian Institure website; retrieved 2012-08-16
  5. ^ Govt pushes on with ‘costly’ Equality Bill on Christian Institure website; retrieved 2012-08-16
  6. ^ Campaigning charity told to steer clear of politics. The Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2001
  7. ^ Public strongly supports including siblings in Civil Partnership Bill on Christian Institute website; retrieved 2012-08-16
  8. ^ UK Parliament Publications
  9. ^ House of Commons Hansard Debates for 9 Nov 2004 (pt 18)
  10. ^ Council halts gay group cash website BBC News; retrieved 2012-08-16
    Glasgow forced not to promote homosexuality Christian Institute website; retrieved 2012-08-16
    Gay groups 'delighted' as Section 28 case dropped The Scotsman July 7, 2000 on website Highbeam Research; retrieved on 2012-08-16
  11. ^ judgment High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland - Queen’S Bench Division (2007) NIQB 66, ref. WEAC5888 retrieved 2012-08-16
  12. ^ Sims, Paul (21 May 2008). "Christian registrar 'threatened with sack' after refusing to conduct gay marriages". Daily Mail (London). 
  13. ^ Landmark rulings strengthen gay rights in workplace. The Guardian, December 20, 2008
  14. ^ Islington “Christian registrar” loses High Court appeal
  15. ^ Islington Registrar refused permission to appeal to Supreme Court
  16. ^ "Gay couple hail hotel snub ruling". Daily Express. Press Association. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Christian B&B owners lose appeal over turning away gay guests". The Guardian. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012.