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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Magistrates Must Be Made To Follow the Law, Not Inflict Their Prejudices on Defendants

The National Secular Society is calling for the appeal by an ex-magistrate who failed to get an exemption from hearings in which he might have to place children with gay couples to be dismissed.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society said that “Andrew McClintock, of Sheffield, is not as he is claiming, facing discrimination for his Christian beliefs. When he took on his position he undertook to uphold the law without fear or favour. He now wants to pick and choose his cases, something other magistrates are not permitted to do. We must not allow the law to be religionised. There are already growing calls for Sharia law and if this appeal is allowed, the prospect of Sharia will come a step closer. It is essential that we have one law for everyone regardless of religion or belief.

“Christian activist Mr McClintock reportedly claims he has no option but to resign. Our understanding is that magistrates can opt to sit in several different aspects of law such as family matters or criminal law. We believe he has an option to stay on as a magistrate but is making this stand as a part of a proselytising campaign to push back the boundaries of the law. He should not be allowed to do so.”


Published Mon, 22 Oct 2007