Comments: magistrate loses appeal

I note that even the courts suffer from a deficit in the Word formatting skills and that printing to a PDF can include the formatting information from the 'Track Changes' information. You would have thought that they would have had an automatic paragraph numbering style rather than having to number paragraphs manually.

Anyhoo - from the appeal it would appear that his case was holed below the waterline before he started as he did not actually appeal on any religious or philosophical basis, merely that he believed that placing children in a same sex household would be worse than the situation in which they came to the court.

The claim for harassment seemed to be dismissed out of hand as they found no evidence for harassment - quite the opposite in fact.


Posted by kennedy at Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 11:10pm GMT

"It was no surprise to them that when the Civil Partnerships Act enabled same-sex couples to adopt and become foster carers, I was simply seeking some form of recusal from cases where I would be forced to act contrary to my conscience," he said.

My partner and I have been foster parents for 14 years and first considered adopting twelve years ago, we considered adopting again in 2002 after the passing of the Adoption and Children Act.

If we had adopted before 2002 then just like unmarried heterosexual couples, though both of us would have been fully assessed by social workers only one of us would have appeared on the adoption papers. The 2002 Act allowed us joint adoption and as I say we had been fostering jointly for over a decade.

The Civil Partnership Act came into force four years later, it gave considerable new liberties, but not those complained of here. Has Mr McClintock somehow managed to miss all these existing cases, I find this all strange.

I suppose I should note that Mr McClintock doesn't seem to have a grasp of the law around fostering and adoption, particularly worrying for a Magistrate who worked in this specialist area.

Mr McClintock, I am assured by mutual acquaintances, is a very nice bloke. Some time ago these friends wrote telling us the Mr McClintock had never actually met any same sex families with adopted/foster children and “would you meet him” – we agreed and wait to see what happens.

He has however fallen into the hands of unscrupulous people who are using him for their political ends. These people are liars and twisters and quite willing to use-up people like Mr McClintock. They deal in corrupt information and accept any organisation and information (no matter how discredited) that supports their view.

As each piece of gay rights legislation has come forward these twisters promised gay folk would be suing everyone in sight! In fact – these people have been advertising for grievances to whip up.

I suspect Mr McClintock is an honourable man, fallen into dishonourable company.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 11:47pm GMT

I should think so too.

Magistrates cannot opt out from any part of the law, whether they agree with it or not.

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 12:15am GMT

Interestingly the Appeal Tribunal speculates that, perhaps, Mr McClintock did "not at the material time expressed adequately or
accurately the real basis of his objection (perhaps because of a reluctance, understandable in the current environment, of admitting to a fixed opposition to the notion of same sex couples)... if ... the true basis of his objections was founded in his religious beliefs."

Interesting because the judges appear to acknowledge that a harassing environment does currently exist...... towards people who express their traditional religious beliefs about same sex sex (assuming 'couples' means sexual partners).

Posted by David Wh. at Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 12:30am GMT

Pray specify!

What in this is harassment?

That he wasn't given carte blanche to do what and how he wanted?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 6:23am GMT

"a harassing environment does currently exist"

Judges are appointed to judge in matters of law. They are not appointed to MAKE law. His job is to see that the laws of the land are being followed. If his religious convictions prevent him from doing his job, then he should not be in that job any more, and should say so. Requiring that he do his job is not harrassment! For the love of God! The right of a conservative to discriminate against someone he doesn't like is more important than preserving the proper role of judges in a democracy?

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 12:14pm GMT

Its interesting that the conservative evangelicals have lost every one of their cases so far. They aren't happy, but it means they can play the martyr, which they love

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 5:14pm GMT

Ford Elms wrote:
"Judges are appointed to judge in matters of law. They are not appointed to MAKE law."

In practice, under England's common law system, judicial decisions can effectively amount to "making" law.

That said, I've not got a huge amount of sympathy with Mr McClintock. His dilemma is pretty small beer compared with that facing barristers opposed to the death penalty who were appointed to the judiciary before its abolition.

Posted by Alan Harrison at Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 5:57pm GMT

I think Alan nicely highlights the underlying assumption, that the law is naturally just and good.

In a society that has a respect for the individual and understands they need to cooperate with society and society in turn protect them, the laws tend to be quite worthy.

Yet, societies can see (some) humans as chattel with diminished or no legal rights or some humans as "blessed" and thus entitled to undue privileges. Then there are other societies where the rule of law is more who has corruptly brought the police and state to act in their interests at the expense of another.

This is one of those times where what might be the right decision in one context can easily be the wrong decision in another. It's a classic example of why Jesus told us we have to think for ourselves.

In this case, I think the law is just, but of course there will be the feral couple who will create the precedent to prove it was a mistake, and the lobbyists who will jolly that along to overgeneralise it to all other homosexuals whilst white washing over the extent of similar failings from heterosexual couples.

That is currently the biggest problem, GLBTs and their advocates have to be divinely perfect or are nitpicked apart, whilst conservo's are all "forgiven", so nearly anything goes. One good thing is that everyone can see that it is not a level playing field and how some have skewed the game to give themselves an unfair advantage.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 7:41pm GMT
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