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Religious Discrimination

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Was it religious discrimination to remove a magistrate who declined to order a same-sex adoption due to his Christian beliefs?

No, held the Court of Appeal in Page v Lord Chancellor.

The case concerned a lay magistrate in Kent who is also a Christian and has a strong belief that it is in the best interests of every child to be brought up by a mother and a father. Mr Page had opposed an adoption application by a same sex couple in 2014 because of his private views and had been reprimanded following a complaint by his fellow magistrates. He then participated in media interviews around the matter which led to his removal from the bench in March 2016.

The Court of Appeal followed the tribunal and the EAT in finding that this decision was not discriminatory. Mr Page was not removed from the magistracy because of his religious beliefs or because he had complained of discrimination. The decision had instead been taken because he made it clear that he was not prepared to carry out his judicial responsibilities in a non-biased manner and in accordance with the law and had done so publicly.

Thanks to Mark Alaszewski of didlaw for preparing this case summary.