KENT, U.K. — A magistrate in the United Kingdom who was removed from office over comments he made last year that it is best for adoptive children to be placed with a mother and father has now also been suspended from the board of the National Health Service over the issue.
As previously reported, Richard Page, who identifies as a Christian, had been a judge for 15 years and sat on the Family Panel of the Kent Central Magistrates Court. He has also worked in mental health for 20 years and is a foster parent.
In 2014, Page had been reprimanded for disagreeing with his colleagues in a homosexual adoption case, being told that he was wrongfully being “influenced by his religious beliefs and not by the evidence.” The magistrate stated that he could not agree that placing a child in a same-sex home was “in the best interest of the child.”
Page was subsequently ordered to undergo re-education training due to his dissent.
Earlier this month, the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) announced that Page had been removed from the bench over his statement to the BBC.
“The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice found Mr Page’s comments would have caused a reasonable person to conclude he was biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters; they considered this to be serious misconduct which brought the magistracy into disrepute,” a spokesman said in a statement. “They have therefore removed Mr Page from the magistracy.”
Following the matter, Kent and Medway Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) Chairman Andrew Ling contacted the UK National Health Service (NHS) Trust Development Authority and requested that he be suspended as a non-executive director of the board. According to its website, KMPT “provide[s] mental health, learning disability and substance misuse services as well as other specialist services to 1.7 million people across Kent and Medway.”
‘The recent publicity you have courted is likely to further undermine the confidence staff, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) staff, have in the leadership of the Trust,” Ling wrote. “Links between the stigma often associated with being LGBT and poor mental health are well established. It is vital that patients and local population are confident that KMPT will challenge stigma or discrimination and treat everyone fairly and impartially.”
NHS has now suspended Page while it investigates his situation.
“It would appear no longer possible to be a Christian, to state what the Bible actually says and what the Church has believed for 2,000 years, and maintain a role in public life in today’s Britain,” he said in a statement. “My seat on the NHS Trust came as a result of my long service in mental health and total commitment to the NHS. None of that has changed.”
“The Trust says in its letter that it is committed to ‘challenge discrimination and treat everyone fairly and impartially’—all evidence to the contrary. What about treating my views, held by billions of Christians around the world, equally and fairly?” Page asked.
He denounced what he sees as a trend of targeting Christians.
“If the current trend continues, and Christians are systematically removed from public life, one by one, profession by profession, then who will pick up the pieces?” Page asked. “Already churches have to step in with Food Banks and Credit Union, but what if they go? And what if Christians are forced to withdraw from the NHS, the law and education, where will this country be?”