Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UK woman wins bid for Scientology wedding

12 December 2013, 10:19

London - A British woman on Wednesday won her fight to get married in a Scientology chapel in London after the Supreme Court ruled that her church could be considered a place of worship.

Louisa Hodkin had been refused permission to wed fiancé Alessandro Calcioli in a Church of Scientology chapel in central London because it was not legally listed as a place of religious worship.

A High Court judge had ruled in 1970 that Scientology services did not count as acts of worship because they involved no "veneration of God or of a supreme being".

But five judges at Britain's highest court on Wednesday said Hodkin and Calcioli should be able to marry in the Scientology chapel, and that religion should not be confined to faiths involving a "supreme deity".

Hodkin had compared her faith to Buddhism and Jainism - neither of which feature a deity - and argued that the 1970 ruling should not be binding because Scientologist beliefs and services had evolved over the past four decades.

Calcioli pronounced himself "ecstatic" after the couple was finally granted permission to marry in the chapel.

"I think the court's definition of religion is excellent. I think it's what most people today would understand 'religion' to be," he said.

Hodkin said the couple hoped to get married in the next few months.

"I am really excited. I'm really glad we are finally being treated equally and can now get married in our church," she said.

But local government minister Brandon Lewis said he was "very concerned" that the ruling will lead to the organisation becoming eligible for tax breaks, and that his ministry was seeking legal advice.

"Hard-pressed taxpayers will wonder why Scientology premises should now be given tax cuts when local firms have to pay their fair share," he said.

Britons can marry in a wide range of religious and non-religious venues, but the location must have official approval.

Scientology, which counts actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its supporters, has long been controversial due to allegations of brainwashing and violence, as well as claims that it is designed to trick members out of large sums of money.

In October France's top appeals court upheld a fraud conviction and fined the church hundreds of thousands of euros for taking advantage of vulnerable followers.

Founded in 1954 by US science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, Scientology is recognised as a religion in the United States but is treated as a cult in other countries. It claims a worldwide membership of 12 million people.

The church has claimed to have more than 100 000 members in Britain, but only 2 418 Britons listed it as their religion in the 2011 census.


Tags religion

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...