Mr Page was a magistrate of strong Christian conviction. After many years’ blameless services in that role he began to hear family cases and in 2014 he presided over an adoption application by a same-sex couple. All the other factors pointed in favour, but Page refused to sign off on it on the grounds of his religious beliefs. He was sworn to act in the best interests of the child, he said, and in his view that was to provide it with a mother and a father because that was “natural”. It was not that he was flatly against same-sex adoptions as such, he told colleagues, but he just wasn’t sure that they were as successful and so they would get the green light from him only when there was no other option available.
This landed Page in front of a Conduct Panel which issued him with a reprimand. His duty as magistrate was to decide cases on the evidence in front of him, all of which pointed to that adoption proceeding, not on the basis of his own personal views of what constituted the ideal adoptive parents. He was also required to undergo remedial training before being allowed to resume his sitting duties.