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Christian Magistrate Sacked for Opposing Adoption by Same Sex Couples

By Principal Lawyer, Employment

A Christian magistrate who was sacked for opposing adoption by same sex couples on TV plans to sue Michael Gove.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Lord Chancellor, Gove, removed Richard Page from his position on the family bench in Kent after his comments on national television were considered to be biased and prejudiced against same sex adopters.

The 69-year-old Mr Page was previously sent for retraining after he said that it would be best for a child to be brought up by a mother and father during an adoption trial.  

Mr Page is not the first person to have found that expressing his beliefs in the workplace conflicts with legislation preventing discrimination because of sexual orientation.

Ladele v London Borough of Islington

In 2004 after same sex civil partnerships were introduced, the London Borough of Islington made all of their marriage registrars into civil partnership registrars too. When Ms Lillian Ladele refused to carry out civil partnerships because it went against her Christian beliefs, the council took disciplinary action against her and ultimately found her guilty of gross misconduct.

She appealed their decision claiming it was unlawful discrimination because of her religious beliefs.  However, the court of appeal held that refusing to carry out civil partnerships breached the council’s policy called ‘Dignity for All’ and the council was justified in requiring all marriage registrars to take on civil partnership duties.

McFarlane v Relate

Counselling service Relate dismissed relationship counsellor, Mr McFarlane. He felt unable to offer same-sex couples psycho-sexual counselling because it conflicted with his Christian beliefs. Relate aims to provide a full range of counselling services to all sections of the community regardless of protected characteristics such as sexual orientation.

The dismissal of Mr McFarlane was ruled to be fair because as he could not ensure he would be able to provide gay people with his psycho-sexual counselling services, he was deemed to have refused to comply with Relate’s equal opportunities policy.

Harriet Bowtell is an employment lawyer who specialises in unlawful discrimination at work.

If you feel you have been discriminated against at work Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free case assessment. You can visit our work discrimination page to find out more, contact us online or speak with one of our workplace discrimination solicitors today on freephone 0800 916 9060.

Employment Lawyer, Discrimination at work

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