I found this statement by High Priestess Amethyst Selma Selene, a.k.a. Sandra Davis, on the website of the Stockport Express:
I think I really need to confirm something here. When I called to book the venue which had been recommended and which I had used many times. I knew it as The Flint Street Social Club, I never knew it was run or attached to the Catholic church and when the Gentleman, who was very nice by the way, answered with Our Lady's I then told him who I was, what we wanted and who were were, totally up front and said that I did not want to compromise them in any way. he assured me that this was a totally separate Buisness venture and that anyone could book the room and then 'do what we want in it' . I would not have continued with the booking had he said any different...
The man who had to also tell me that we couldn't have the room was very apologetic and said embarrased at having to tell me they wouldn't let us have the venue. However, we have now got somewhere else larger and should have a really great time. I never imagined it would cause this much fuss.
This puts a somewhat different complexion on the story. It appears that a long-established and purely secular venue has been taken over by the Catholic Church, which then bans members of particular religious groups from using it. Notwithstanding the name Our Lady's, it would not seem to be an essentially religious venue. It's not a church, or even attached to a church. It's against the law (under the Equality Act 2006) for anyone providing goods or services directly to the public to discriminate because of religion or belief. Our Lady's Social Club, as a "totally separate business venture", would seem to be quite clearly covered by the law.
Section 46 (1) specifies that:
It is unlawful for a person (“A”) concerned with the provision to the public or a section of the public of goods, facilities or services to discriminate against a person (“B”) who seeks to obtain or use those goods, facilities or services
And according to subsection (2),
Subsection (1) applies, in particular, to
(d) facilities for entertainment, recreation or refreshment,
Nor is there any doubt that the definition of religion includes pagan faiths such as witchcraft.
I suggested yesterday that the reason for banning this group owed more to possible embarrassment than a desire to discriminate. But, given that the planned event was not overtly religious in nature (it was, says Mrs Davis, "a family event with dancing, games etc just like any other party") , that is no defence. The Stockport witches have found another (and, it seems, better) venue for their pre-Halloween revels. But they are clearly upset by what they see as religious bigotry. I'm more upset by the fact that whoever vetoed the event seems to be unaware of the law.