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Employment Appeal Tribunal hears appeal from Christian ex-magistrate dismissed over adoption comments

The Employment Appeal Tribunal is this week hearing an appeal from a former magistrate who was removed from the judiciary after he expressed the view that it was in a child's best interests to be raised by a mother and a father.

Richard Page claims that the decision was based on “discrimination of Christians”, according to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which is advising him on the appeal.  The appellant is being represented by barrister Paul Diamond before the EAT hearing on 14-15 May.

The background to the case was that Mr Page, a former finance director in the NHS, had been one of three justices considering an adoption case in 2014.

The CLC said that during a closed-door discussion with his two colleagues, Mr Page expressed his view that it was in the best interests of the child to be raised by “a mother and a father” rather than a same-sex couple.

“Mr Page expressed this view, not only because of his Christian faith, but because a report provided to the court by social services sweepingly claimed that children up for adoption do better with homosexual couples than heterosexual couples. The report also indicated that at least one of the applicants had been unsuccessful in a previous application for adoption,” the CLC claimed.

Mr Page was reported and disciplined by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice. He was told that his views about family life were discriminatory against same-sex couples and he was barred from sitting as a magistrate until he had received 'equality training', which he undertook, the CLC said ahead of the EAT hearing.

However, in 2015 Mr Page appeared on the BBC and said that it was best for the child if it was a man and woman who were the adoptive parents.

This led to a further investigation and his removal from the magistracy in March 2016. He is appealing against this dismissal and is also separately challenging a decision by the NHS to suspend him as a non-executive director of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.

Mr Page lost his claim in the Employment Tribunal. He was given permission to appeal in December 2018.