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Christian magistrate victimised

April 2007

Andrew McClintock, a Christian magistrate from South Yorkshire, has lost a discrimination case at an employment tribunal in Sheffield. He claimed he was forced to resign his job as a magistrate because he could not agree with adoption of children by gay couples and said civil partnership laws clashed with his religious beliefs.


Mr McClintock had asked to be excused cases in which he might be asked to remove a child from its natural family and place it in the care of a gay couple. He believed the new rules on same-sex couples contradicted his personal religious beliefs and his duty as a magistrate to put the child’s welfare first, since the decision meant children would escape ‘one kind of harm only to face another hazard’.


However, lawyers for the Department of Constitutional Affairs, which oversees magistrates’ courts, told the tribunal panel no judge or magistrate could select which parts of the law they wished to apply.


Mr McClintock, a member of the Christian People’s Alliance Council, became a Justice of the Peace in Sheffield in 1988. He will not be able to serve on the Family Panel, even though the Tribunal recognised that ‘he has an unblemished record and is well regarded by fellow magistrates and by the Department of Constitutional Affairs’.
 

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