Current Affairs

Magistrate appeals against tribunal’s gay rights ruling

Tony Grew March 15, 2007
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The Christian former magistrate who claimed unfair dismissal after he was told he could not pick and choose which adoption cases to rule on is to appeal.

Earlier this month 62-year-old Andrew McClintock learned that his legal action against the Lord Chancellor, claiming that his Bible-influenced opinions should allow him to be excused from approving gay adoptions, was rejected by an employment tribunal.

McClintock says that evidence given in his defence by a right-wing American academic, claiming that gay parents were bad for kids, was not given due consideration by the Sheffield tribunal.

They heard evidence from Dean Byrd, who is a prominent promoter of so-called conversion therapy as a “cure” for homosexuality.

McClintock resigned from the South Yorkshire Courts Panel after being informed he would not be allowed to opt-out of cases that he felt would conflict with his religious views.

“Gay couples have human rights too,” the tribunal said.

“To suggest Mr McClintock’s human rights are being infringed by refusing to allow him to opt out of a situation whereby he might feel forced to discriminate against same-sex couples strikes us as being wrong.”

Mr McClintock wanted the tribunal to reinstate him with the understanding that he can opt out of cases that conflict with his Christian views.

In January Dr Byrd told the tribunal:

“The most reputable scientists would agree that the research on children raised by same-sex couples is in its infancy,” according to The Yorkshire Post.

“However, in spite of the many flaws in the very limited pool of rigorous studies, there appears to be an emerging theme.

“Children raised by same-sex couples exhibit poor outcomes not so dissimilar to those raised by divorced heterosexual parents.”

Dr Byrd flew in from Utah to share his opinions on gay parenting with the tribunal.

He is Vice-President of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

NARTH supports so-called conversion therapy and lobbies the American Psychiatric Association to re-label gay people mentally ill.

Mr McClintock’s legal action had been backed by the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, some of whose members petitioned the Queen earlier this year protesting the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

The regulations protect gay, bisexual and lesbian people from discrimination when accessing goods and services, and are due to become law on April 30th.

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