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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 11:48 GMT
Magistrate in gay adoption defeat
Andrew McClintock
Andrew McClintock said he was concerned about children's welfare
A Christian magistrate who says he was forced to quit the bench because he does not agree with adoption by gay couples has lost a discrimination case.

Andrew McClintock, of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, said civil partnership laws clashed with his religious beliefs.

He told a tribunal he did not want to have to remove a child from its natural family into the care of a gay couple.

Mr McClintock, 63, said the decision meant children would escape "one kind of harm only to face another hazard".

He told the employment tribunal in Sheffield, which started in January, his request to avoid such cases had been refused.

Mr McClintock, a member of the Christian People's Alliance Council, said new rules on same-sex couples contradicted both his personal religious beliefs and his duty as a magistrate to put the child's welfare first.

More needy children will be fuelling this experiment in social science and suffering what the experts call mother-hunger or father-hunger
Andrew McClintock

That left him with no option but to resign, he claimed.

Speaking after he heard his claim had failed, father-of-four Mr McClintock said: "There will be more children now who the courts remove from one kind of harm only to face another hazard.

"More needy children will be fuelling this experiment in social science and suffering what the experts call mother-hunger or father-hunger.

"This ruling is going to make it harder for many conscientious people - whether they are JPs in the family court, or otherwise involved with children, or maybe with different matters of conscience.

"Anyone who holds seriously to the traditional morals and family values of Jews, Christians or Muslims will think twice before taking on such a job."

'Best interests'

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.

A spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall said: "We are not surprised at the outcome and the tribunal's decision made it clear that people in public service cannot pick and choose which laws they comply with.

"While not disrespecting anyone's private religious views, all public figures have to work within the legislation and in these cases in the best interests of the children involved."

Churches unite over adoption row
24 Jan 07 |  UK Politics
Magistrate quit over gay adoption
24 Jan 07 |  South Yorkshire

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