UK & World News

  • 24 February 2014, 3:06

Couple In England's First Scientology Wedding

The first couple allowed to marry in England under the Scientology faith have called their wedding a victory over "inequality and unfairness".

Louisa Hodkin and Alessandro Calcioli, both 25, walked down the aisle in the historic ceremony on Sunday after winning a five-year long legal battle.

Dressed in a traditional white wedding dress, the new Mrs Calioli beamed as she emerged from the Church of Scientology chapel in Blackfriars, London, arm-in-arm with her new husband.

Mr Calcioli told Sky News he was feeling "just ecstatic - a little bit speechless, just so happy that this day has finally come."

During the ceremony the bride's brother read from Scientology founder and pulp fiction writer L Ron Hubbard's essay What Is Greatness?

"The hardest task one can have is to continue to love his fellows despite all reasons he should not," he said.

"And the true sign of sanity and greatness is to so continue. For the one who can achieve this, there is abundant hope.

"For those who cannot, there is only sorrow, hatred and despair. And these are not the things of which greatness or sanity or happiness are made."

The couple, from East Grinstead in Sussex, last year saw Supreme Court judges uphold their challenge to the 1855 Places of Worship Act.

They were not allowed to marry at the Scientology chapel under the law because it was not a place for "religious worship".

But five Supreme Court justices analysed the case at a hearing in London in July and ruled in their favour in December, finding it was for religious worship.

In 1970 Scientology launched a similar case, but the Court of Appeal ruled it did not involve religious worship because there was no "veneration of God or of a Supreme Being".

On a website created to celebrate their wedding, the couple said: "Scientology can be described in many ways. But most fundamentally it is a religion, and it is our religion."

Lousia's brother David Hodkin was married at the Church of Scientology in Edinburgh in 2007.

It was a valid marriage under Scots law as the Scotland's registrar general authorises ministers of Scientology to perform marriages in Scotland.

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