UK Supreme Court Rules Scientology Is a Religion

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 11 2013 9:37 PM

UK Supreme Court Rules Scientology Is a Religion

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The chapel of the Church of Scientology in Quebec City, Canada.

Photo by Gatan POULIOT/AFP/Getty Images

The UK Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Church of Scientology is a religion and can therefore be used to perform marriage rituals. The ruling reverses a 33-year-old court ruling that Scientology services did not constitute "acts of worship." The case was brought by Louisa Hodkin, who wanted to get married at the church, but officials refused to recognize the church as a place of religious worship. The ruling, in effect, sanctions the controversial Church of Scientology as a religious organization. The Supreme Court's ruling, Reuters reports, “is a notable victory for an organisation that has struggled to gain recognition as a genuine religion in many countries.”

Here's more on the court's ruling from Reuters:

In their unanimous decision to allow Hodkin's appeal, the Supreme Court justices said that the 1970 ruling was out of date in its definition of religious worship as involving "reverence or veneration of God or of a Supreme Being." "Religion should not be confined to religions which recognise a supreme deity," wrote Lord Toulson, giving the judgment of the Supreme Court. "To do so would be a form of religious discrimination unacceptable in today's society," he wrote, saying that the criterion would exclude Buddhism, among other faiths.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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