This is an interesting news item from PinkNews (rather than Pink Tape for once)
Allowing same sex couples to adopt was highly controversial and politicised – almost the entire Parliamentary debate about the 2002 Adoption and Children Act was taken up by this sole issue. We have even had a Children’s Minister within this Parliament who is staunchly opposed to it. But it has been law now for 13 years and same sex couples can legally adopt.
This news item relates to a Magistrate hearing a set of care proceedings, and remarking to his colleagues in the retiring room that he would prefer the child to go back to mum and dad than go to a gay adopter.
[Of course, any Magistrate hearing a family case ought to prefer that a child live with birth parents if possible, rather than adopters, but the sexuality of the adopters shouldn’t really be a factor]
The Magistrate was suspended and sent on various awareness courses – I think with mixed success, given what he has to say about the situation now
“There is tremendous pressure to keep quiet and go along with what is seen to be politically correct.
“Everyone else seems to be allowed to stand up for their beliefs except for Christians.
“I think there is something about a man, a woman and a baby, that it’s natural and therefore the others are not. That is the comment that I made.
“Therefore, since my task as a magistrate is to do the best for the child, my feeling was, quite reasonably, that a man and a woman would be better.”
[Also the fact that he is getting advice from an anti-gay pressure group suggest to me that maybe his diversity training to re-educate him hasn’t completely worked]
It clearly isn’t right for someone with such views to sit on a family case where the issue arises – but is it okay for him to do other cases but recuse himself from any case that involves same sex adopters, or indeed parents? Or do attitudes of this kind end up colouring your approach on other matters?
For example, might someone with this sort of belief system also take an overly harsh view of a mother who has had an abortion, if the Magistrate holds the view that abortion (though legal) is morally wrong?
It will not be a massive surprise to readers that the comments section on this piece in Pink News reads rather differently to the comments section on the same basic story in the Mail.
I’ve never been in a position of having to give a judgment, and am never likely to be – though if by some clerical error I find myself in the Supreme Court I’m going to choose to be called Lord Vader. I imagine that you must bring something of yourself to the process – Judges aren’t robots – they have human experiences and thoughts of their own. The key is to be able to identify for yourself if you are putting too much weight on feelings rather than facts and evidence and legal principles.