Christian Institute

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Christian Institute logo.jpg
TypeChristian charity
HeadquartersWilberforce House,
4 Park Road,
Gosforth Business Park,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE12 8DG.
Colin Hart

The Christian Institute (CI) is an evangelical Christian group operating in the United Kingdom. The CI promotes a conservative Christian viewpoint, founded on a 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] However, according to the accounts and trustees annual report for the financial year ending 2017, the average head count of employees during the year was 48 (2016:46).[4]

While the CI has campaigned on issues including gambling, abortion and euthanasia, it is most notable for its campaigns against homosexuality and gay rights. The CI sought to retain Section 28[5] and a higher age of consent for homosexuals, and opposed the Civil Partnership Act, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and legislation allowing gay couples to adopt.[6] It has opposed measures to prevent gay people being discriminated against in the provision of services and goods.[7] 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."[8]

In 2004, the CI funded a full-page newspaper advertisement in The Times in support of a controversial amendment to the Civil Partnership Bill.[9] The amendment attempted to include within the scope of the Bill siblings who had lived together for longer than 12 years.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12]

In 2007, the CI and others unsuccessfully sought a judicial review of the Sexual Orientation Regulations in Northern Ireland.[13]

In May 2008, the CI funded[14] 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.[15] 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.[16][17]

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.[18] The owners lost both the case and the subsequent appeal.[19]

In 2015 and 2016 CI was part of the No to Named Person (NO2NP) coalition that campaigned against the "named person" scheme in Scotland, the attempt by the Scottish Government to introduce legislation creating a single point of contact for each child, with privileged access to data about that child.[20] NO2NP argued that this would "[undermine] parents and permits the state unlimited access to pry into the privacy of families in their homes" and would stretch child protection resources.[21] The arguments were dismissed by the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2015. After hearing an appeal in March 2016,[22] the UK Supreme Court stated that the proposed legislation would breach the rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights, and ruled that the proposal could not be implemented in this form.[23] As a result, the Scottish Government announced on 8 September a process including development of a code of practice setting out how information should be shared under the legislation, with the intention of working towards a commencement date for the legislation of August 2017.[24]


  1. ^ Christian Institute Homepage Archived 2009-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Charity Commission. The Christian Institute, registered charity no. 1004774.
  3. ^ About Us
  4. ^ "The Christian Institute Accounts and Trustees Report 2017" (PDF). UK Charity Commission.
  5. ^ "Section 28: Briefing Paper". Christian Institute. Archived from the original on 4 August 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  6. ^ Counterfeit Marriage Archived 2012-07-28 at the Wayback Machine on Christian Institute website; retrieved 2012-08-16
  7. ^ Govt pushes on with ‘costly’ Equality Bill on Christian Institute website; retrieved 2012-08-16
  8. ^ Campaigning charity told to steer clear of politics. The Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2001
  9. ^ Public strongly supports including siblings in Civil Partnership Bill on Christian Institute website; retrieved 2012-08-16
  10. ^ UK Parliament Publications
  11. ^ House of Commons Hansard Debates for 9 Nov 2004 (pt 18) Archived March 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ judgment High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland - Queen’S Bench Division (2007) NIQB 66, ref. WEAC5888 retrieved 2012-08-16
  14. ^ Sims, Paul (21 May 2008). "Christian registrar 'threatened with sack' after refusing to conduct gay marriages". Daily Mail. London.
  15. ^ Landmark rulings strengthen gay rights in workplace. The Guardian, December 20, 2008
  16. ^ Islington “Christian registrar” loses High Court appeal
  17. ^ Islington Registrar refused permission to appeal to Supreme Court
  18. ^ "Gay couple hail hotel snub ruling". Daily Express. Press Association. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  19. ^ "Christian B&B owners lose appeal over turning away gay guests". The Guardian. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  20. ^ "What is the named person scheme? - BBC News". Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  21. ^ "The Named Person Scheme - NO2NP". Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  22. ^ Supreme Court, appeal hearing, The Christian Institute and others (Appellants) v The Lord Advocate (Respondent) (Scotland)[1] Archived 2016-10-01 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Supreme Court rules against Named Person scheme - BBC News". Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  24. ^ Deputy First Minister's Statement on Named Persons[2]

External links[edit]