A Christian former magistrate has won the right to challenge his dismissal over remarks he made about same-sex couples adopting children.
Richard Page, of Headcorn, Kent, lost his role on the bench after saying in a BBC interview that interview that a child would be better looked after by a man and a woman rather than a gay couple.
The comments came after Mr Page, along with two other Magistrates, considered an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child in Kent in July 2014.
He was later sacked for ‘serious misconduct’ by then Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas, who said his comments suggested he was ‘biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters.’
But at a hearing, the former magistrate was granted permission to take his case against the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice to the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Croydon, south London.
Representing Mr Page, barrister Paul Diamond argued that although judges are expected to show restraint while commenting in public, Mr Page’s remarks were well within the bounds of his judicial functions and that Mr Page had therefore been victimised.
Her Honour Judge Katherine Tucker allowed Mr Page’s appeal to proceed, saying that judges have a fundamental role in democratic society.
She said that judges are permitted to hold even ‘intolerant’ views that should be respected but that there may be limits as to how they can be expressed so as not to impugn the impartiality of the courts.
Mr Page had served as a magistrate for 20 years with an exemplary record.
He is being supported in the courts by the Christian Legal Centre.
Mr Page said: ‘I am amazed that it has taken so long to get this far.
‘It is vital that we maintain the true independence and impartiality of the judiciary and that ordinary people like me are not excluded from it.’
Mr Page had originally spoken out against a child being adopted by a gay couple, and would be better placed ‘with a mother and father’ in 2014.
He was disciplined for his remarks, which were made in private to colleagues behind closed doors during an adoption case.
Afterwards he was interviewed by number of different media outlets defending his position, before he went on BBC Breakfast to discuss the issues around same sex adoption in march 2015.
In that interview he said: ‘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.’
Source: Daily Mail.