Kent

JP sacked for voicing his views against same-sex adoption

Richard Page
Image caption Richard Page was interviewed by BBC News correspondent Caroline Wyatt in March 2015

A magistrate has been sacked over comments he made on television against single sex adoption.

Richard Page, 69, who served for 15 years as a magistrate in Kent, was removed after he gave an interview to BBC News Correspondent Carolyn Wyatt.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said his comments amounted to serious misconduct which brought the magistracy into disrepute.

Mr Page said he would challenge the "illiberal and intolerant" decision.

The JP, who served in Sevenoaks and Maidstone, sat on the Kent Central family panel.

He was reprimanded in 2014 after he was found to have been influenced in an adoption case by his religious beliefs as a Christian but spoke about his views in the BBC interview on 12 March 2015.

He told Ms Wyatt: "My responsibility as a magistrate, as I saw it, was to do what I considered best for the child.

"My feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and woman who were the adopted parents."

Image caption Richard Page was reprimanded in 2014 for allowing his religious beliefs to influence an adoption case

A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said he was removed because the comments "would have caused a reasonable person to conclude he was biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters".

Mr Page, whose case has been taken up by the Christian Legal Centre. said: "I have made judgments on thousands of cases and in each case, have come to my decision based on the evidence, and the evidence alone.

"It has only been a relatively short time that same-sex couples have been able to adopt and foster and there has not been time for a proper analysis to be carried out into the effects such placements have on the children's educational, emotional and developmental wellbeing.

"To punish me and to seek to silence me for expressing a dissenting view is deeply shocking."

The Christian Legal Centre's chief executive, Andrea Minichiello Williams, said: "To remove someone like Richard from the bench is modern day madness.

"He has a lifetime of public service and expertise in mental health.

"He is motivated by his Christian faith and a deep compassion for people."

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