A Christian magistrate has been sacked for opposing adoption by same-sex couples.
Richard Page was removed from his office by the Lord Chancellor following a media interview last year, during which he shared his conviction that children do best when they are brought up by a man and a woman.
Mr Page, who served as a magistrate for 15 years, described the move as “illiberal and intolerant”.
In March 2015 the magistrate was interviewed by BBC reporter Caroline Wyatt as part of a debate about the marginalisation of Christians in public life.
During the interview, he explained how he was disciplined the previous year after a court hearing where he could not agree with his colleagues that placing a child into the care of a same-sex couple would be in the child’s “best interests”.
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 woman who were the adopted parents.”
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) confirmed that Mr Page has been removed from the magistracy.
illiberal and intolerantRichard Page
A statement from the JCIO said: “The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice found that Mr Page’s comments on national television would have caused a reasonable person to conclude he was biased and prejudiced against single-sex adopters”.
It added that the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice “considered this to be serious misconduct which brought the magistracy into disrepute”.
Illiberal and intolerant
Reacting to the news, Mr Page said: “I am surprised that the Lord Chancellor should seemingly pander to the new political orthodoxy when what it amounts to is social experimentation on the lives of the most vulnerable children in our communities.
“To punish me and to seek to silence me for expressing a dissenting view is deeply shocking.
“I shall challenge this decision as it is illiberal and intolerant. It is vital the family law courts always have in mind the best interests of the children.”
The magistrate is being represented by the Christian Legal Centre.
Responding to the decision, Chief Executive Andrea Williams said: “This unmasks the face of the new political orthodoxy; it is unkind. It tries to silence opposing views and if it fails it crushes and punishes the person who holds those views.”