Reprimand for pro-marriage judge alarms columnist
Fri, 20 Dec 2013
National newspaper columnist Stephen Glover has criticised an official warning given to a High Court judge for speaking out about marriage.
Earlier this week Sir Paul Coleridge was told – by the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office – that his pro-marriage comments amounted to “judicial misconduct”.
But Glover, writing in the Daily Mail, said the judge had been censured for veering “off the official script” and “speaking the simple truth”.
The columnist said that Sir Paul, who was appointed as a High Court judge in 2000 after working for 30 years in family law, is an expert in his field.
“What alarms me is that an intelligent man who has been presented with more evidence of family breakdown in his professional career than most of us, and who has studied and thought about the reasons for its rapid increase over recent years, should have had his knuckles publicly rapped by the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office”, Glover commented.
“My strong suspicion is that there would have been no reprimand” had the judge “expressed the now fashionable view that marriage is merely one of several lifestyle choices, none of which is preferable”, he added.
But Glover said: “Along comes Sir Paul Coleridge, cautiously and judiciously speaking in favour of society’s most important institution, and he is cut down by the judicial Establishment.
“A man who has served justice is rebuked and humiliated.”
“This, sadly, is a country in which a judge can be charged with ‘judicial misconduct’ for speaking the simple truth”, he concluded.
In an editorial on the issue, the Daily Mail said it was “appalled that Sir Paul has been rebuked for supporting marriage, the very bedrock of a healthy society”.
The warning relates to the judge’s involvement in articles for The Times newspaper in December last year and for The Telegraph’s website in July.
Sir Paul, speaking about same-sex marriage, told The Times in 2012: “So much energy and time has been put into this debate for 0.1 per cent of the population, when we have a crisis of family breakdown”.
And in his Telegraph article he commented: “‘Stability’ is the name of the game and comparatively speaking that means marriage.”