Magistrate who refused to rule on gay adoption loses appeal
A former magistrate who claimed unfair dismissal after he was told he could not pick and choose which adoption cases to rule on has lost his appeal.
In March 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.
He said he was disappointed by today’s decision by an employment appeal tribunal and vowed to take his case to the Court of Appeal.
“For 18 years my Christian beliefs have been well known to both my fellow magistrates and to court officials,” he said today, according to the BBC.
“It was no surprise to them that when the Civil Partnerships Act enabled same-sex couples to adopt and become foster carers, I was simply seeking some form of recusal from cases where I would be forced to act contrary to my conscience.”
Mr McClintock had claimed 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.
Dr Byrd flew in from Utah to share his opinions on gay parenting with the tribunal.
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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 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.
Mr McClintock, a member of the Christian People’s Alliance Council, wanted the tribunal to reinstate him with the understanding that he can opt out of cases that conflict with his Christian views.
A key part of his case was that as a magistrate he has to act in the best interests of the child and that placing them with gay people was detrimental to them.