Magistrate dismissed over same sex views

A Christian lay magistrate has lost his appeal against the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice’s decision to dismiss him after he said children should be adopted by a man and woman.

Richard Page, who was a lay magistrate on adoption decisions in London, had said it is “not normal” for a child to be adopted by a single parent or same sex couple.

The expression of his views led to a formal reprimand and he was instructed to seek advice before speaking to the media.

However he proceeded to tell the BBC that his responsibility was “to do what [he] considered best for the child and [his] feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and a woman who were adoptive parents”.

He was then dismissed as a lay magistrate and issued claims of religious discrimination and victimisation.

London South Employment tribunal dismissed his claims, finding that he was dismissed because he had “chosen to advertise the bias that he would apply” in his judicial role and because he had “disregarded the instruction to seek advice before contacting the media”.

Mr Justice Choudary has now rejected his appeal against the finding, affirming that his comments to the BBC were not legally protected and that his claims to freedom of expression under the European Convention of Human Rights “could not be accepted” and that his actions were separate from his comments.

Justice Choudary said judges are not precluded from speaking out on matters of controversy but if they do so, “they must not undermine judicial impartiality or respect for the judiciary”.