An NHS director fired for speaking out against gay adoption and saying it's "better for a child to be brought up by both a man and a woman" has said he was "ousted from public service" because of his Christian beliefs.
Richard Page, 71, this week brought a religious discrimination case against the NHS Trust Development Authority after losing his job for comments he made as a magistrate, according to the Daily Mail.
Page says he was barred from public duty for adhering to his faith and is suing the NHS for discrimination, harassment and victimization for his Christian beliefs under the Equality Act 2010. He explained to an employment tribunal that he believes "sex outside of marriage is sinful" and said that while he's not "anti-gay", he believes it's "a sin to have sex outside of marriage, which necessarily includes all homosexual practices.'
The row began last year, when Page said it was better for a child to be brought up by both a man and a woman when considering an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child. He rejected a claim in a social worker's report that homosexual couples made better adoptive parents than straight couples, and appeared on numerous television programs in an attempt to defend his position, the BBC reports.
On one appearance on ITV's This Morning, where he declared that he was opposed to gay marriage, the presenter, Piers Morgan, accused him of being a homophobe - a claim Page denied.
A short time later, he was fired for serious misconduct from the magistracy by then Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas, who said his comments suggested he was "biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters". Page was also suspended from his role as a director of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, NHS Trust Development Authority.
"My career as a magistrate, and my career as an NHS director, were both devoted to public service," Page told the employment tribunal this week. "I exercised all my duties properly, according to the law and my conscience, and not according to any ideology."
"The Bible states that a God-honoring relationship is for one man and one woman to be united in the life-long union of marriage. God encourages procreation in the context of this relationship," he continued.
"I am not homophobic. It is not a sin to be a homosexual. It is a sin to have sex outside of marriage, which necessarily includes all homosexual practices.I strongly believe that it is best for any child to be raised in a traditional family with a mother and a father."
Page emphasized that a child needs the "complementary roles offered by both parents, male and female, psychological as well as physical."
"Consequently, I take a skeptical view of same-sex adoptions, or adoptions by a single person," he said.
Page, who served as a magistrate for 15 years, submitted in a witness statement to the Croydon Employment Tribunal in South London that the reason for his rejection of the gay couple's application was that he did not find the social worker's argument "persuasive".
He also noted that the couple were attempting to adopt in England to sidestep legislation in their own country - something he described as "adoption shopping", according to Kent Online.
During cross-examination, he told the tribunal panel: "What I am saying is it is normal for a man and woman to have a child. My job as a magistrate was to do what was best for the child."
When asked whether this meant he was excluding gay parents, he answered: "Yes."