Christian magistrate sacked over views on gay adoption moves forward with appeal

Richard Page had been a magistrate in a Kent family court for 12 yearsChristian Concern

A Christian magistrate sacked after saying he thought it best for children to be raised by a mother and father has been given permission to appeal the decision.

Richard Page can now take his challenge against the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. 

The 72-year-old was removed as a magistrate by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice in 2016 after expressing his views on placing children with same-sex adoptive parents in a BBC interview the year before.

He told the BBC: '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 adoptive parents.' 

His comments led to an investigation by the judiciary's disciplinary panel, which recommended that he be removed from office for serious misconduct over concerns that he would be 'biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters'.

The magistracy claimed his comments had brought it into disrepute and he was subsequently removed from his position in February 2016.  That decision was upheld by the Employment Tribunal in February this year.

Mr Page is appealing the decision on the grounds of religious discrimination against his deeply-held Christian beliefs. 

At a hearing last week, Judge Katherine Tucker gave Mr Page permission to proceed with his appeal against the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice. 

Commenting on the decision, 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.'

Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Mr Page, said the action taken against him had been 'disproportionate'. 

'We will continue standing by Richard, and others like him, as long as it takes for the legal system, and society in general, to recognise the positive impact of Christians in our nation's life,' she said.