Judge forced out because of views on marriage
AN OUTSPOKEN judge has claimed he was forced to resign because of his support for marriage. He has described as ‘silly’ and ‘unfair’ the treatment meted out to him by the Lord Chief Justice, John Thomas, and the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, a body charged with investigating complaints against judges.
Sir Paul Coleridge said he had been told not to speak out in support of the Marriage Foundation, an organisation he set up as a charity to promote stable married relationships.
He told the newspaper that judges should be able to speak out in a private capacity and complained it was ‘ridiculous’ that complaints from a ‘handful’ of people had led to him being treated as a ‘miscreant in court’.
The judge said that he is a Christian but not a ‘Bible basher’. He first agreed not to speak publicly in support of the Marriage Foundation but then found himself the subject of renewed complaints when he said the Government was focussing too much on gay marriage, which he described as a ‘minority issue’.
After more complaints he was told he had brought the judiciary into disrepute and given a warning. After he went public to describe the warning as ‘unfair and disproportionate’ he was subjected to a third investigation and was issued with a reprimand. As a result, he decided to resign and work full time promoting the work of the Marriage Foundation.
“Where do you go after a reprimand?” he complained to the Sunday Times. “Public hanging?”
Sir Paul has won support from Baroness Butler-Sloss, former president of the family division courts. He argues that getting a divorce is now easier than getting a driving licence and that while not every broken family produces dysfunctional children, almost every dysfunctional child is the product of a broken family.
“In about 1950 you weren’t allowed in the royal enclosure at Ascot if you were divorced. That would now exclude half the royal family,” he told the Sunday Times.