A judge who was punished for saying that children do best with a mother and a father has been granted permission to appeal.
According to Christian Concern, Richard Page, formerly a magistrate in the United Kingdom, was blocked from returning to a non-executive director role at a National Health Service trust because of his views.
His appeal recently was heard by the most senior judges in England and Wales, and a decision could be announced soon.
In 2014, during a closed-door consultation with two other magistrates about an adoption case, Page “expressed his view that, wherever possible, children do best with a mother and a father,” the organization said.
“Despite having served as a magistrate in Kent for 15 years with an exemplary record, Richard was reported for his comments, and, following an investigation, was disciplined by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice. He was told that his views about family life were ‘discriminatory against same-sex couples’ and was barred from sitting as a magistrate until he had received ‘equality training,'” the report said.
In an interview with the BBC, he explained his perspective, which triggered a further investigation.
He was removed from his position in 2016.
“At the time, Richard, who has nearly 20 years’ experience as a finance director in the NHS, was serving a four-year term as a non-executive director of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT). Just weeks after the decision to remove him from the magistracy, Richard was also suspended from his role at the trust,” Christian Concern said.
He was thrown out of that position, too, because of his support for the traditional family.
Christian Concern said the panel “believed that Richard’s actions, in expressing his beliefs about family life, and in responding to his dismissal as a magistrate, were ‘likely to have had a negative impact on the confidence of staff, patients and the public in you as a local NHS leader.'”
However, the panel received only one complaint about his views while being “made aware of more than 6,000 emails supporting him.”
The decision by the NHS panel that he challenged at an employment tribunal last year is the subject of his new appeal.
“The outcome of the hearing could have significant consequences not just for members of the judiciary or the NHS, but for anyone who expresses a Christian view in a public setting, or even a private social setting,” Christian Concern explained.
“Everyone is allowed freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights, which has served to protect a wide range of offensive and provocative speech far surpassing anything Richard has said. For example, the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, hurled abuse at a Jewish journalist while in office, calling him a German war criminal and concentration camp guard – and won his appeal.”
Page has explained: “My desire to do the best for the child has been the paramount consideration throughout my time as a magistrate on the family panel. Yet by living out this belief, I have been drawn into a much bigger battle about my freedom, and the freedom of Christians more broadly, to express biblical truth in the public square.”
He said he was appalled to find such a prevalent anti-Christian attitude in his country.
The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Page’s appeal.