Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Parliament, not prejudice

Hat-tip to the Magistrate's Blog for pointing out this story in The Times today. 'Christian JP' Andrew McClintock resigned from the family panel in Sheffield after he was refused exemption from adoption hearings involving same-sex couples. He lost a claim for discrimination at an employment tribunal in March and is now appealing to the EAT. I agree entirely both with Adrian Lynch of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, who said that it was for Parliament to decide who could adopt children and that judges and magistrates could not decide which parts of the law they wished to apply, and with Keith Porteous Wood, of the National Secular Society, who said that: "We must not allow the law to be ‘religionised’".

[Update: Pink Tape has now posted on this story, and argues far more eloquently than I could why a Magistrate should not be allowed to decide what cases he deals with, including debunking the nonsense argument that McClintock's view was not a deep-seated religious belief, but the “valid and responsible” opinion of a “reasonable scientific officer”.]

[Further update: Thanks to The Barrister Blog for pointing out that Mr McClintock's appeal failed. He is, however, now taking the matter to the Court of Appeal.]

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