A Scientologist couple who won a challenge in the high court have finally married in the church of their choice, the Church of Scientology Chapel in London.
Louisa Hodkin and her new husband Alessandro Calcioli took legal action after officials refused to register the Church of Scientology as a place of marriage.
The chapel had initially been refused as a wedding venue due to a 1970 High Court ruling which said Scientology services were not “acts of worship”.
However, after taking their case right up to the Supreme Court the couple won. Five Supreme Court Judges found that the church of Scientology had changed over time, and that their services now consisted “acts of worship”. The judment meant that the High Court ruling handed down in 1970 was overturned, and that the couple were free to marry in the Church of Scientology.
Ms Hodkin and Mr Calcioli, both 25 and from East Grinstead, West Sussex, told the BBC: “It has been a long, five-year battle to achieve a simple freedom – the right to marry in our own church with a service in accordance with the rites and customs of our religion and surrounded by our friends and family.
“We are pleased and proud that our victory brings to an end inequality and unfairness, not just for Scientologists, but for people of all faiths – because the Supreme Court have now provided a definitive description of what a religion is, which had not existed before in English law.”
A Church of Scientology spokesman said: “We are delighted that Louisa and Alessandro can now be married in their church in front of their family and fellow parishioners. They have paved the way for other Scientologist couples.”