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Magistrate suspended after gay adoption comments

Richard Page has sat as a Justice of the Peace in Kent for 15 years and is a highly regarded member of the Magistrates' Panel.

But he was given a reprimand after he decided to block the adoption of a child by a same sex couple.

After hearing the case he said he could not agree to the gay adoption because his Christian faith led him to believe it would not be in the interest of the child.

Following an investigation by the local JP Advisory Panel the case was referred to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice.

They found that his religious beliefs about family life were discriminatory against same sex couples.

Mr Page said: "My Christian faith informs me that children flourish best in a loving home with a married mum and dad.

"My 20 years of experience in mental health service also leads me to the same conclusion.

"This is not a matter of prejudice or bigotry but is based on knowledge and evidence that I have applied when seeking the best interests for a lifetime of a vulnerable child.

"As a Magistrate in the Family Court, I must conduct a case-by-case analysis, based on the facts which are before me.

"In this particular case, it appeared to me that there was overwhelming evidence that the situation was not in the best interests of the child.
"Since making the decision I have been put under huge pressure to conform to the conclusions that others wanted me to reach but I knew that I had to dissent, for the sake of that child.

"Christian faith demands setting aside ideologically convenient conclusions and fighting for the best interests of children."

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr Page said: "Children should not be denied the chance to be brought up by a mum and dad wherever that option exists.

"We cannot allow children to become pawns on the 'equality' battlefield. Real 'equality' means focusing on the needs of each child not being driven by the so-called rights of adults to become parents."

A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said: "The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have issued Mr Richard Page JP, a Magistrate assigned to the Central Kent Bench with a reprimand.

"Mr Page, whilst sitting in the Family Court, was found to have been influenced by his religious beliefs and not by the evidence.

"The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice considered that this amounted to serious misconduct and that Mr Page should have recused himself from the matter."

Andrea Minichiello Williams speaking to Premier's Antony Bushfield and Anna Cookson:

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