Published: 10:00, 27 March 2016
A former magistrate has been suspended by the NHS after speaking out against gay adoption.
Headcorn JP Richard Page has been told he cannot return to his role on the board of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership (KMPT) until an investigation has taken place into comments made during a court case and in subsequent media interviews.
Earlier this month the 69-year-old father-of-three, who has worked in the field of mental health for 20 years and as a magistrate in Maidstone and Sevenoaks for 15, was struck off by the Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove.
The devoted Christian initially made comments about the suitability of same-sex parents during a family court case in 2014.
"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." — Andrew Ling
He went on the reiterate his belief there was not enough research on the impact having gay parents has on children.
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) removed Mr Page from the magistracy after finding his views 'prejudicial.'
Mr Page, has since revealed he will take that case to an employment tribunal. The Christian Legal Centre has appointed leading human rights barrister Paul Diamond to act on his behalf.
Now, he has been suspended by the NHS with immediate effect after Andrew Ling, chairman of KMPT, wrote to the NHS Trust Development Authority.
In the letter Mr Ling claims Mr Page’s comments, and continuance as a KMPT member would have a major impact on staff, patients and "the perception of living the Trust values".
Mr Ling added: "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.
“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".
Mr Page said: "Last week, the Prime Minister distributed an Easter video in which he commended Christians, and the Church for their vital role in society, stating that we are a Christian country and should be proud of it.
"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?" — Richard Page
"However, his Government has brought in laws which effectively silence Christiansand remove them from the public square. 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. 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?
"What the Prime Minister, Government and NHS Trust fail to recognise is that the reason why so many Christians make such a huge contribution to society – which they are all keen to acknowledge – is that we are all motivated to do so by our Christian faith and our love for Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection we remember this weekend.
"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? 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?”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and founder of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "On Easter Day we remember the hope that is found in the message of Jesus Christ who overcame death to bring life and freedom. It would seem that the political elites wants to remove people that believe in Jesus and the message we celebrate today from public life.
"For the past decade, we at the Christian Legal Centre have been warning that Christians are being marginalised and removed from public life.We have seen it in nursing, in counselling, in teaching, amongst Registrars and now we see it amongst Magistrates and NHS Trust Executives.
"It is time for MPs to take serious note and look afresh at the Equality legislation which was badly drafted and consistently gives more rights to some groups over those of the Christian faith. At a time when the nation comes to celebrate Easter, the principal Festival in the Christian Calendar, once again we find Britain's political leaders wiping their hands clean of Christians who are prepared to stand up for their faith.They take no responsibility for what is going on, blaming the Equality Act, citing 'freedoms' and talking of 'diversity' but it's all hot air.
"This Easter, it is time for MPs and the Government to wake up and see how Christians are being forced out of our nation's public life, and to act before it is too late"