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Judges accused of 'deep intolerance' of Christians following ruling over same sex adoption comments

Wed 19 Jun 2019
By Eno Adeogun

An Employment Appeal Tribunal has dismissed a Christian former magistrate's appeal against the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice's decision to remove him from his posts.

Richard Page lost his role on the bench in 2015 after 15 years of service for stating that a child up for adoption would be better looked after by a man and a woman rather than a same-sex couple.

He was also later stopped from returning to his position as a non-executive director of the Kent and Medway NHS Trust after expressing the same opinion during a BBC interview.

 

The then Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas said his comments to the media suggested he was "biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters".

In the second judgement given on Wednesday morning, Mr Justice Choudhury upheld the finding that LGBT people suffer disproportionately from mental health illnesses and might be dissuaded from using the trust's services because of the high profile coverage of Mr Page's beliefs.

Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre who have been supporting Mr Page explained to Premier why she wasn't surprised by the judgements "given the current climate in our nation, given the current climate in our culture and certainly in the culture of the courts".

"There's a reality that speaking out as a Christian, as Richard Page has done, means increasingly that we are being prohibited from the public space, prohibited from working and taking part in certain professions," she said.

"And that's exactly what has happened to Richard Page. He's been pursuing justice in this matter now for five years - the wheels of justice turn very slowly at the moment and we are very keen to continue to pursue this."

 

She added that Mr Page expressed this view, not only because of his Christian faith, but also because a report provided to the court by social services "sweepingly" claimed that children up for adoption do better with homosexual couples than heterosexual couples.

Mr Page was represented by religious freedom barrister Paul Diamond in both cases and has revealed that he will seek to appeal the decisions.

Commenting on his cases, Mr Page said: "I am deeply disappointed that the court has ruled that saying that a child will do better with a mother and a father is proper grounds for dismissal as a magistrate and as a director of an NHS trust.

"I'm also disappointed that Mr Justice Choudhury believes this viewpoint can be separated from my Christian faith.

"This shows that we are now living in a deeply intolerant society which cannot stand any dissent from politically correct views - even from judges. I hope that we can appeal this decision and restore freedom of speech across the country."

Listen to Premier's Ruth Sax speaking to Andrea Williams:

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