Published: 09:00, 10 March 2016
A magistrate has been struck off after making controversial comments on national television.
Richard Page was reprimanded last year after questioning whether a same-sex couple would be the best choice of parents during an adoption case.
The 69-year-old Christian, from Headcorn, said it was natural and in the interests of a child to be brought up by a mother and father.
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After being reprimanded by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) Mr Page, who made the comments behind closed doors, was sent on an equality course.
The NHS manager, who has been a magistrate on the Central Kent Bench covering Maidstone and Sevenoaks for 15 years and has also been a foster parent, then took part in a BBC debate on whether Christians were being squeezed out of public life.
"There is not sufficient evidence to convince me placing a child in the care of a same-sex couple can be as holistically beneficial to a child as placing them with a mum and dad as God and nature intended.” — Richard Page
The father-of-three, who has worked in the field of mental health for 20 years, said there was not enough information on the effects on children of having same-sex parents.
Yesterday the JCIO released a statement saying Mr Page had been removed from the magistracy following these comments.
A spokesman for the JCIO said: “The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice found Mr Page’s comments would have caused a reasonable person to conclude he was biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters; they considered this to be serious misconduct which brought the magistracy into disrepute.
“They have therefore removed Mr Page from the magistracy.”
Mr Page said in the thousands of judgements he has made he has taken account of the evidence alone.
He added: “As a magistrate I have to act on the evidence before me and quite simply I believe that there is not sufficient evidence to convince me placing a child in the care of a same-sex couple can be as holistically beneficial to a child as placing them with a mum and dad as God and nature intended.”
He said the government’s policy on same-sex adoption amounted to “social experimentation on the lives of the most vulnerable children.”
The decision to dismiss Richard Page was branded “modern day madness” by the law firm which is supporting him.
Mr Page has pledged to challenge the “deeply illiberal and intolerant decision,” saying: “To punish me and to seek to silence me for expressing a dissenting view is deeply worrying.
He added: “It is vital the family law courts always have in mind the best interests of the children.”
Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said “The Lord Chancellor has removed Richard from the magistracy for allegedly being ‘prejudiced’ and for speaking out in the media about what has happened to him.
“This unmasks the face of the new political orthodoxy; it is unkind. It tries to silence opposing views and if it fails it crushes and punishes the person who holds those views.
“To remove someone like Richard from the bench is modern day madness. He has a lifetime of public service, expertise in mental health. He is motivated by his Christian faith and a deep compassion for people.”