The new head of the High Court’s Family Division, Lord Justice (James) Munby, is a strong supporter of equality for gay people.

Sir James is to take over as the President of the High Court Family Division after the sudden retirement retirement of the current head Sir Nicholas Wall due to poor health.

Sir James, was the chairman of the Law Commission, a law reform body and has been the presiding judge in a number of important gay rights cases.

He was the presiding judge at a landmark case that ruled that a anti-gay Christian couple should be banned from fostering children because of their views on homosexuality.”

At the time, making his judgement he said:“The equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence” over religious beliefs, the judges ruled.

“No one is asserting that Christians (or, for that matter, Jews or Muslims) are not ‘fit and proper’ persons to foster or adopt. No one is seeking to de-legitimise Christianity or any other faith or belief.

“On the contrary, it is fundamental to our law and our way of life that everyone is equal before the law and equal as a human being entitled to dignity and respect.

“We are, however, entitled to take judicial notice of the fact that, whereas the sharia is still understood in many places as making homosexuality a capital offence, the Church of England permits its clergy, so long as they remain celibate, to enter into civil partnerships.

“We live in this country in a democratic and pluralistic society, in a secular state not a theocracy.”