Christian magistrate sacked after saying children do best with mother and father dies

Richard Page(Photo: Christian Concern)

Richard Page, a Christian family magistrate who was sacked after saying children do best when raised by a mother and father, has died. He was 74.

Page was a magistrate for 15 years and non-executive director of an NHS trust. In deliberations on an adoption case with two other magistrates, he said it was best for children to be placed with a mother and a father where possible. He also expressed this view publicly in the media.

Page was then removed as a magistrate by the then justice secretary Michael Gove and Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas for supposedly being "biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters" and bringing the magistrates' courts into disrepute.

He was also let go from his position with the NHS trust.

He commenced legal proceedings against his sackings but lost at the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

In his judgment, Lord Justice Underhill said that "the freedom to express religious or any other beliefs cannot be unlimited".

"In particular, so far as the present case is concerned, there are circumstances in which it is right to expect Christians (and others) who work for an institution, especially if they hold a high-profile position, to accept some limitations on how they express in public their beliefs on matters of particular sensitivity," he stated.

At the time of his death, Page had been planning to take his case to the Supreme Court.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which was supporting Page, said his case may still go to the Supreme Court.

In a moving tribute on the Christian Concern website, she called him "a modern-day hero of faith".

"In Richard's case we have judges at the highest level saying that they are unable to take judicial notice of the fact that Christians believe marriage is between a man and a woman," she wrote.

"The judgments in his case, right up to the Court of Appeal, are a stark picture of how a man like Richard who holds passionately to his Saviour Jesus can be left out in the cold."

In his latter years, Page had been suffering from Alzheimer's and his passing follows that of his wife, Jane, last year.

Williams added, "At Christian Concern, with the permission of Richard's family, we hope to take his case to the Supreme Court.

"He always knew the case was much bigger than him. In many ways, and Richard would agree, the case was not just about justice for him but about contending for Christian truth in public life.

"Richard and Jane, their faith-full, faith-filled lives will forever be in my heart."