Two are women say they were asked to remove necklaces with crucifixes on them at work, a relationship counsellor who refused to counsel gay couples, and a registrar who would not conduct same-sex civil partnerships.

In this landmark case, The European Court of Human Rights will investigate whether there has been a breach of Article Nine of the European Convention of Human Rights, their right to freedom of religion.

The Huffington Post reports that registrar Lillian Ladele for the London Borough of Islington, has been described in court paprs as a “Christian [who] holds the view that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and sincerely believes that same sex civil partnerships, which she describes as ‘marriage in all but name’ are contrary to God’s law”

In March 2006, two gay Registrars complained about Ladele’s refusal to perform gay unions. She was disciplined for failing to do her duty “solely on the grounds of [the] sexual orientation of the customers of that service.” Ladele went to an Employment tribunal, which found against her, and an appeal was rejected.

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society says: “Any further accommodation of religious conscience in UK equality law would create a damaging hierarchy of rights, with religion trumping all.

“Any change to the law to increase religious accommodation stands the risk of seriously undermining UK equality law. This is likely to be a landmark case determining the future direction of equality law in the UK, and potentially also in Europe. We must at all costs avoid creating a hierarchy of rights with religious rights firmly at the top.”