Christian magistrate loses gay adoption appeal

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A former magistrate who claimed unfair dismissal after he was told he could not pick and choose which adoption cases to rule on has had a second appeal rejected.

He announced yesterday that following the decision of the Court of Appeal the issue “will not be debated further.”

In March 2007 Andrew McClintock’s legal action against the Lord Chancellor, claiming that his Bible-influenced opinions should allow him to be excused from approving gay adoptions, was rejected by a Sheffield employment tribunal.

“Gay couples have human rights too,” the tribunal said.

In October an employment appeal tribunal rejected his appeal.

Yesterday the Court of Appeal refused him permission to appeal and said his case was not one of religious discrimination.

Mr McClintock had claimed that evidence given in his defence by a right-wing American academic, claiming that gay parents were bad for kids, was not given due consideration by the Sheffield tribunal.

Mr McClintock resigned from the South Yorkshire Courts Panel after being informed he would not be allowed to opt-out of cases that he felt would conflict with his religious views.

A key part of his unfair dismissal claim was that as a magistrate he has to act in the best interests of the child and that placing them with gay people was detrimental to them.

Lord Justice Mummery said yesterday that his case centred on the alleged lack of research into same-sex parenting rather than his religious objections.

After the ruling, Mr McClintock told the Yorkshire Post:

“I am hugely disappointed that these issues, which have massive public importance and for which we have huge support, will not be debated further.”

The March 2007 employment tribunal heard evidence from Dean Byrd, who is a prominent promoter of so-called conversion therapy as a “cure” for homosexuality.

Dr Byrd flew in from Utah to share his opinions on gay parenting with the tribunal.

He is Vice-President of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

NARTH supports so-called conversion therapy and lobbies the American Psychiatric Association to re-label gay people mentally ill.