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'Christian beliefs incompatible with JP duties', Lord Chief Justice tells Magistrate

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Issued on behalf of Christian Legal Centre

Press Release

For Immediate Release

19 January 2015

'Christian beliefs incompatible with JP duties', Lord Chief Justice tells Magistrate

The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice have told an experienced Magistrate that his belief that it is in ‘the best interests of a child to have a mother and a father' must not influence his work whilst sitting on the Bench.

Richard Page, who is a Christian, has sat as a Justice of the Peace in Kent for 15 years, and is a highly regarded member of the Magistrates' Panel.

Having heard all the evidence in an adoption case, Mr Page decided that his legal duty to act in the best interests of the child meant that he couldn't agree to placing the child with a same-sex couple.

Following an investigation by the local JP Advisory Panel the case was referred to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice.

He was told that his religious beliefs about family life were discriminatory against same sex couples. The Magistrate was given a reprimand and barred from returning to the Bench until he has received 'equality training' for his views.

He has sought the support of the Christian Legal Centre and specialist human rights barrister Paul Diamond.

'Best interests of the child'

Mr Page said: "My Christian faith informs me that children flourish best in a loving home with a married mum and dad. My 20 years of experience in mental health service also leads me to the same conclusion. This is not a matter of prejudice or bigotry but is based on knowledge and evidence that I have applied when seeking the best interests for a lifetime of a vulnerable child.

"As a Magistrate in the Family Court, I must conduct a case-by-case analysis, based on the facts which are before me. In this particular case, it appeared to me that there was overwhelming evidence that the situation was not in the best interests of the child.

"Since making the decision I have been put under huge pressure to conform to the conclusions that others wanted me to reach but I knew that I had to dissent, for the sake of that child. Christian faith demands setting aside ideologically convenient conclusions and fighting for the best interests of children."


'Pawns on the equality battlefield'

Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre said: "Richard Page is accused of being prejudiced on account of his Christian faith. Ironically, closer inspection of this case reveals that the real discriminatory prejudice is that practised by those who would prioritise the placing of this child with a same-sex couple, not on the basis of evidence but on the basis of ideology.

"Children should not be denied the chance to be brought up by a mum and dad wherever that option exists. We cannot allow children to become pawns on the 'equality' battlefield. Real 'equality' means focusing on the needs of each child not being driven by the so-called rights of adults to become parents."




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