Magistrate fired for views on gay adoption is suing for religious discrimination
A magistrate who was fired for his views on gay adoption is suing the Lord Chief Justice for religious discrimination.
Richard Page, 71, was allegedly dismissed from his role after he told a same-sex couple that “it is in the best interest of the child to have both a mother and a father”.
Page denied the application for adoption in 2014 and his colleagues filed a complaint against him.
Page underwent equality training but was reprimanded for speaking to the press about the situation.
By the end of the year, he had been reprimanded by the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor, but he was not dismissed until 2016 when former Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas said that his comments proved he was “biased and prejudiced against single-sex adopters”.
Defending his comment, Page said in 2015: “My responsibility as a magistrate as I saw it was to do what I considered best for the child and my feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and a woman who were adopted parents.”
As well as being dismissed as a magistrate, which is a voluntary position, Page was suspended from his role as a non-executive director at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.
Page has now launched a lawsuit against the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice accusing them of religious discrimination because he says his views on same-sex adoption are rooted in Christian beliefs and that he is not anti-LGBT.
He said: “There is a subtle difference between believing that a child should have a mother and a father, and being prejudiced to same-sex couples. Sadly I was portrayed as homophobic and I refute this.”
“The premise of the decision against me is an unfair stereotypical assumption that Christians are prejudiced against homosexuals. I considered that I was a victim of discrimination for my Christian beliefs, and the public had a right to know about that worrying development.”
Page explained that he believes that “homosexual activity is a sin. Not being a homosexual, but homosexual activity. It’s like prostitution or having sex outside of marriage is a sin. Homosexual activity is Biblically a sin.”
District Judge Martin Parry, who was on Page’s disciplinary panel, said that his dismissal was not based on Page’s religious beliefs but rather his perceived bias.
“The views he gave on TV could be perceived as bias,” he said. “The point is you are a judge first, or a magistrate first, and you are applying the law. It didn’t matter to us whether he was Muslim, atheist, Christian or Hindu.”