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Former magistrate Richard Page takes NHS to tribunal after dismissal over gay adoption remarks

A Christian former magistrate who was dismissed from the bench for his views on the adoption of children by gay couples is waiting to hear the judgement of an appeal tribunal.

Richard Page was sacked as a magistrate and later relieved from the post of non-executive director of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.

His troubles began in 2014, when sitting as a magistrate deciding on an adoption case.

Richard Page, from Headcorn
Richard Page, from Headcorn

He 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."

He then subsequently also lost his position with the NHS Trust for speaking to the media about his case, after an LGBT member of the NHS complained.

Mr Page is contesting both dismissals through the employment tribunal system and the first of his two cases was heard in London on Tuesday.

Barrister Paul Diamond, representing Mr Page, told the president of the employment tribunal Mr Justice Choudury that the case involved Mr Page's fundamental right to express his views.

Mr Page, 71, from Headcorn, who had served both the magistracy and the NHS for 20 years, is being supported in both his cases by the Christian Legal Centre.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the centre, said: "This is a fundamental case involving the right to freedom of expression and the right to play a role in public life. It is the sort of case that could go all the way to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg."

The NHS received a petition signed by 6,000 people in favour of keeping Mr Page, which it dismissed.

Justice Choudury is expected to hand down his judgement in four weeks' time.

Meanwhile, Mr Page's second tribunal appeal, over his dismissal from the magistracy, will be heard in the Spring.

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."

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