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A Christian NHS director sacked for speaking out against gay adoption has lost his legal bid to win his job back.

71-year-old Richard Page brought a religious discrimination case against the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Mr Page was suspended as a director of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust after he said it was better for a child to be brought up by a man and a woman.

He made the comments as a magistrate whilst considering an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child.

He told an employment tribunal that he believes ‘sex outside of marriage is sinful’.

He added that he wasn’t anti-gay, but added: ‘It is a sin to have sex outside of marriage, which necessarily includes all homosexual practices.’

Later he was sacked from the magistracy for serious misconduct by then-justice secretary Michael Gove and Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, who said his comments suggested he was ‘biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters’.

The NHS Trust Development Authority suspended him from his role at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust shortly after.

He claims that he has been barred from public duty for being a good Christian and tried to sue the NHS for discrimination, harassment and victimisation for his Christian beliefs under the Equality Act 2010.

Mr Page had served as a magistrate for 15 years. In his statement to the tribunal, Mr Page stated: ‘My career as a magistrate, and my career as an NHS director, were both devoted to public service.

‘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-honouring 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.

‘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.

‘The child needs the complementary roles offered by both parents, male and female, psychological as well as physical. Consequently, I take a sceptical view of same-sex adoptions, or adoptions by a single person.’

During cross-examination, Mr Page 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.’

Following the reserved judgment and confirmation that he had lost his case, he said: “I am very disappointed by this outcome but I am determined to appeal.”

An NHS Improvement spokesman said the judgement reinforced “the importance of all NHS Board members upholding the standards set out by the NHS Professional Standards Authority” which promotes equality and inclusivity.

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Andy West

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