The Daily Telegraph
Magistrate sacked for ‘Christian views’ on adoption loses appeal
A CHRISTIAN magistrate who was sacked from his NHS role after saying it was better for a child to be brought up by a father and a mother than a gay couple has lost his case against his former employer.
Richard Page, 71, was suspended by the NHS Trust Development Authority after he made the comments in his role as a magistrate when considering an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child.
Last year, he went on a media campaign to defend his views. During an appearance on ITV’S Good Morning Britain, he declared that he was opposed to gay marriage and was accused by presenter Piers Morgan of being a homophobe, which he denied.
Mr Page was sacked from the bench for serious misconduct by Michael Gove, then Justice Secretary, and Lord Thomas, who said his comments suggested he was “biased and prejudiced against single-sex adopters”.
A few days later, the NHS Trust Development Authority suspended him from his role as a non-executive director at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.
The trust said he had undermined the confidence of staff, particularly gay and transgender employees. He launched a case against the authority for discrimination, harassment and victimisation for his Christian beliefs under the Equality Act 2010.
Mr Page, of Headcorn, Kent, claimed he was being “ousted from public service” for being a Christian and argued he had worked with “numerous homosexuals” during his time in the NHS.
But an employment tribunal rejected his bid to be reinstated.
The panel said he was not dismissed for holding or expressing his views, but because he had appeared in the media without telling the trust. In a judgment, the tribunal panel said: “Expressing his views in that context was not something that the tribunal finds was intimately linked to his religion or his beliefs. Had the belief relied on by the claimant been the wider views expressed in his television interview in March 2016, ie that ‘homosexual activity’ is wrong, then the tribunal may well have concluded that this was not a belief that was worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
Mr Page told Croydon employment tribunal he was not anti-gay but that “I strongly believe that it is best for any child to be raised in a traditional family with a mother and a father. The child needs the complementary roles offered by both parents, male and female, psychological as well as physical”.
He added: “Consequently, I take a sceptical view of same-sex adoptions, or adoptions by a single person. I have been ousted from every venue of public service for no other reason than that, as a good Christian, I have always endeavoured to do my duty.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Mr Page, said: “It seems that the NHS bosses and liberal judges cannot tolerate the expression of Christian views on morality – particularly sexual morality. We will appeal this judgment.”