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Christian magistrate in UK files discrimination case over removal for gay adoption views

(YouTube/Christian Concern)Richard Page appears in a screen capture of a video from Christian Concern

A Christian magistrate who was removed from his position because of his views on gay adoption has filed a religious discrimination case against the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor.

Richard Page, 71, told a tribunal in south London that he was removed from the bench after he shared his personal view during a BBC interview that a child for adoption would be better looked after if placed in the home of a heterosexual couple rather than a gay couple.

His remarks came after he and two other magistrates considered an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child in Kent in July 2014.

According to Daily Mail, Page turned down the application after rejecting a claim in a social worker's report that same-sex couples made better adoptive parents than straight couples.

The Christian magistrate was reprimanded by the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor in December that year after his colleagues filed a complaint.

He defended his stance when he was interviewed by a number of different media outlets and he later went on BBC Breakfast in March 2015 to discuss the issues around same-sex adoption.

"My responsibility as a magistrate as I saw it was to do what I considered best for the child, and my feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and a woman who were adopted parents," Page said during the 2015 interview.

In March 2016, Page was removed from the magistracy by then Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas who said that his remarks were an indication that he was "biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters."

Page was also suspended by the NHS Trust Development Authority from his role as a non-executive director at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.

Last October, an employment tribunal rejected his bid to be reinstated to his NHS position, arguing that he was not dismissed for expressing his views, but because he had appeared in the media without informing the trust.

Page has now filed a religious discrimination case against the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice at Croydon Employment Tribunal in south London.

During the cross-examination on Tuesday, Page was asked if he was biased against the same-sex couple. In response, he said: "I'm not biased against the couple. I am in favour of the child and what is best for them."

"It is normal for a man and a woman to have a child, and therefore it's best for a child to be brought up by a man and a woman, or husband or wife. I am not judging the people, I'm judging what's best for the child," he added.

He insisted during the hearing that he did not apply his Christian beliefs to the adoption case, but he admitted that his beliefs would have helped form his thought process.

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