KENT, U.K. — A magistrate in the United Kingdom was removed from office on Thursday over comments he made last year expressing that it is best for adoptive children to be placed with a mother and father.
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.
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.
Last March, in speaking with the BBC for a segment about religion being stifled in public life, Page told reporters about the incident and why he could not concur with his colleagues.
“My responsibility as a magistrate, as I saw it, was to do what I considered best for the child,” he said in the televised segment, “and my feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and woman who were the adopted parents.”
Page has worked in mental health for 20 years and is a foster parent.
This week, 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.”
But Page finds the dismissal discriminatory and outrageous.
“As a highly experienced magistrate, I have made judgments on thousands of cases and in each case, have come to my decision based on the evidence, and the evidence alone, placed before me and my colleagues. That is the oath which I took when I became a justice of the peace,” he said in a statement.
“As a magistrate, I have to act on the evidence before me and quite simply, I believe that there is not sufficient evidence to convince me that placing a child in the care of a same-sex couple can be as holistically beneficial to a child as placing them with a mom and dad as God and nature intended,” Page continued. “I am surprised that the Lord Chancellor should seemingly pander to the new political orthodoxy when what it amounts to is social experimentation on the lives of the most vulnerable children in our communities.”
Page is now being represented by the Christian Legal Centre in London and vows to fight his dismissal.
“To punish me and to seek to silence me for expressing a dissenting view is deeply shocking. I shall challenge this decision as it is illiberal and intolerant,” he said. “I cannot believe that the establishment is trying to silence someone like me who has served it wholeheartedly all of my working life.”