Kent

JP sacked over same-sex adoption views plans legal action

Richard Page
Image caption Richard Page, 69, served as a magistrate in Kent

A Christian magistrate is planning to take legal action after he was sacked over comments he made on television against same-sex adoption.

Richard Page, 69, who served as a magistrate in Kent, told the BBC last year it would be better for a man and a woman to be the adopted parents.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office deemed this serious misconduct.

His lawyers say they will bring an employment tribunal for discrimination over his religious beliefs.

Mr Page, who served in Sevenoaks and Maidstone, sat on the Kent Central family panel and was a magistrate for 15 years. He was sacked earlier this month.

This followed a BBC interview in March 2015 in which he had said that it was his duty as a magistrate to act on the evidence alone, and that there had not yet been a proper analysis of the effects that placing children with same-sex couples had on the child's well-being.

'Disrepute'

Mr Page had been reprimanded in 2014 after he was found to have been influenced in an adoption case by his religious beliefs as a Christian. He had disagreed with his fellow magistrates over placing a child into the care of a same-sex couple.

As part of a debate over challenges to freedom of religion and belief in the UK, he spoke to the BBC's religious affairs correspondent Carolyn Wyatt.

Mr Page said: "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."

The Lord Chancellor Michael Gove and the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas decided Mr Page had "brought the judiciary into disrepute," and would have caused a reasonable person to conclude that he was "prejudiced against single sex adopters".

The Adoption and Children Act of 2002, which came into force three years later, gave unmarried gay people, as well as same-sex couples, the right to adopt a child.

The UK is one of only 14 countries where same-sex couples can legally adopt children.

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