A Christian magistrate has been suspended by a major NHS trust following comments he made on TV regarding same-sex adoption.
Richard Page was struck off after he told the BBC it would be preferable for a man and a woman to adopt.
Page previously worked as a non-executive director in the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT).
He now claims that being a Christian is impossible if one wishes to maintain a position in public life.
KMPT chairman Andrew Ling wrote to the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) requesting the suspension.
Ling claimed that the comments made by Page could be detrimental to staff and patients, particularly those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT).
“Links between the stigma often associated with being LGBT and poor mental health are well-established. It is vital that patients and local population are confident that KMPT will challenge stigma or discrimination,” Ling asserted.
Page had previously been criticised and dealt with internally back in 2014, after allowing his religious beliefs to influence a case of adoption.
Following his latest remarks, the TDA announced that it had taken the decision of suspending Page with immediate effect.
It will now be assessed with the NHS should take further action, or whether Page should remain in his current position.
Page was strongly critical of the decision, having worked in mental health for 20 years, and suggested that Christians are essentially subjected to discrimination in the existing system.
“It would appear no longer possible to be a Christian, to state what the Bible actually says and what the Church has believed for 2,000 years, and maintain a role in public life in today’s Britain. My seat on the NHS Trust came as a result of my long service in mental health and total commitment to the NHS – none of that has changed. What about treating my views, held by billions of Christians around the world, equally and fairly?”
While the NHS continues to consider the case, Page has received support from other groups and individuals.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and founder of the Christian Legal Centre, supported Page, and suggested that Christians are being increasingly marginalised and removed from public life.
Page had made the remarks in an interview some months ago, with the following comments having particularly attracted attention.
“My responsibility as a magistrate, as I saw it, was to do what I considered best for the child. My feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and woman who were the adoptive parents.”
Page has since indicated that he will take legal action over the decision. He previously served in Maidstone and Sevenoaks.