An English magistrate who says he felt forced to resign because he was unwilling to enact the law on adoption by gay and lesbian couples has lost his appeal over claims that he was subject to anti-Christian discrimination.
Andrew McClintock says he will fight on, and is backed by a range of people critical of the gay rights agenda. But Christians who say the Gospel message is opposed to discrimination are welcoming the decision.
Mr McClintock told an employment appeal tribunal earlier in October 2007 that he felt he had suffered discrimination because the courts refused to allow him to opt out of cases involving gay adoptions.
He also contended that placing children with non-heterosexual parents was a "social experiment" against their best interests.
However, the Department for Constitutional Affairs, which is responsible for the administration of magistrates courts, said that judges could not pick and choose which cases they heard.
This, they argued, would inhibit fulfilment of the law and lead to unevenness in service provision, which would be detrimental to those seeking to adopt, and to the children concerned.
Mr McClintock, who is aged 63 and comes from Sheffield, said that he was "deeply disappointed" with the tribunal's decision, and vowed go to the Court of Appeal.
"When the Civil Partnerships Act enabled same-sex couples to adopt and become foster carers, I [needed] some form of recusal from cases where I would be forced to act contrary to my conscience," the magistrate said, citing his Christian faith.
However, equalities campaigners point out that other Christians are perfectly willing to comply with the regulations, and that no discrimination is implied on grounds of faith in the law.
However if Mr McClintock was to be granted an exemption it would lead to discrimination against others, they say.