Published: 00:01, 02 January 2019
| Updated: 07:22, 02 January 2019
A former magistrate has won the right to challenge his dismissal over non-PC remarks he made about child adoption.
In 2014 Richard Page from Headcorn dissented from the view of his colleagues on the bench when they were considering the case of the adoption of a child by a same sex couple.
Mr Page, a Christian, said that in his view it was in a child's best interests to be raised by a mother and a father.
Two years later he was sacked from the bench for "serious misconduct" by then Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas, who said his comments suggested he was "biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters."
But at a hearing, he was granted permission to take his case against the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Representing Mr Page, barrister Paul Diamond argued that although judges are expected to show restraint while commenting in public, Mr Page's remarks were well within the bounds of his judicial functions - and that Mr Page had therefore been victimised.
Her Honour Judge Katherine Tucker allowed Mr Page's appeal to proceed, saying that judges have a fundamental role in democratic society.
She said that judges are permitted to hold even 'intolerant' views that should be respected - but that there may be limits as to how they can be expressed so as not to impugn the impartiality of the courts.
Mr Page had served as a magistrate for 20 years with an exemplary record.
He is being supported in the courts by the Christian Legal Centre.
Mr Page said: ''I am amazed that it has taken so long to get this far. It is vital that we maintain the true independence and impartiality of the judiciary and that ordinary people like me are not excluded from it."
Mr Page had previously explained his position by saying: "I strongly believe that it is best for any child to be raised in a traditional family with a mother and a father.
''The child needs the complementary roles offered by both parents, male and female, psychological as well as physical.
"Consequently, I take a sceptical view of same-sex adoptions, or adoptions by a single person."