Justice Is Pink
Magistrate loses gay adoption appeal
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:32am GMT 01/11/2007
A Christian magistrate who felt forced to resign because he opposes adoption by gay couples has lost his appeal but vows to fight on.
Andrew McClintock, a Christian magistrate who felt compelled to resign over his views on gay adoption
Mr McClintock was 'deeply disappointed' with the decision
Andrew McClintock told an employment appeal tribunal earlier this month that he had suffered discrimination because the courts refused to allow him to opt out of cases involving such adoptions.
He also argued that placing children with gay parents was an "experiment in social science" that was not necessarily in their best interests.
But the Department for Constitutional Affairs, which is responsible for magistrates courts, said that judges could not pick and choose which cases they heard.
Mr McClintock, 63, from Sheffield, said that he was "deeply disappointed" with the tribunal's decision, but said that he would now go to the Court of Appeal.
He said that his Christian beliefs had been known to his fellow magistrates and court officials for the 18 years he had sat as a magistrate.
"It was no surprise to them that when the Civil Partnerships Act enabled same-sex couples to adopt and become foster carers, I was simply seeking some form of recusal from cases where I would be forced to act contrary to my conscience," he said.
"The Lord Chancellor's office is advertising for new magistrates from all sections of the community, but unless they are prepared to take into account the legitimate conscience needs of magistrates from Christian backgrounds, and others, they could well see not only a huge drop in recruitment but resignations from serving magistrates."
Andrea Minichiello Williams, for Christian Concern for the Nation, which is supporting Mr McClintock's legal action, said: "There is a prevailing secularist agenda which is pushing faith to the sidelines and quashing freedom of speech.
"In effect, Christians are being asked to leave their deeply held convictions and views at home and become someone else when they arrive at work or offer themselves for public service."
The article is a follow on from this one about Mr McClintock, and what I find most interesting in this situation is that the magistrate has the honesty to admit that he cannot be impartial, and is basically told, "Too bad."
Here in Oz, we have plenty of activist judges, with one of the most prominent being Justice Michael Kirby, who makes no effort at impartiality from what I've seen. (I'll admit that I've not made a huge study of him, but everybody knows he's out and proud)
With his giving speeches at the Gay Games in 2002, I guess there's no worries about his lack of bias in any area of legislation.
To my mind, a magistrate who is willing to recuse himself from a case on the basis that he cannot apply the law with the necessary impartiality is one who should be held onto at all costs.
In this day and age there are too many stalking the corridors of power with their own agenda.
One that does not always act with the aim of upholding the Law.