We’ve been away for a few days so we have only just had the chance to catch up, but we note Paul Coleridge has now been disciplined for his active promotion of the Marriage Foundation in the press.
As many know, it is generally frowned upon for judges to be actively involved in causes or campaigns which involve large-scale press intrusion during their tenure, but as the system faces continued criticism, judges have begun to use their judgments as a means of transporting political messages to the world.
Once a judgement is published, everyone is able to see what a judge feels about a certain issue. This is a wonderful step forward for transparency and a huge step back for those judges who do not fit the mould of what a competent judge should be. Because, with transparency comes a better understanding of what our judges are about and can help increase awareness of whether or not they allow their political views to get in the way of their work, which requires neutrality for the most part, compassion and acuteness. And so we accept that judges will from time to time air their views this way. There is a fine line, which many judges tread well.
Paul Coleridge, has clearly crossed that line, though he of course does not think so. Complaining bitterly about the formal warning he received for engaging in a courtship with the press over his Marriage Foundation, which advocates traditional marriage only, Paul told the press (again), “I strongly disagree with the overall conclusion … which underlies this announcement that my occasional comments on the huge social problem of family breakdown or my public support for the Marriage Foundation amounts to misconduct or brings the judiciary into disrepute.”
But the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office (JCIO) stand by their warning, which they gave to Paul, so they say, for giving interviews and writing an article (which appeared in the Telegraph, the same newspaper which runs the story above).
It would have been too complex for the JCIO to offer any other reason perhaps: such as Coleridge’s inherent homophobia which is implied in his apartheid Foundation, or the fact that whilst many judges may have supported him behind closed doors, they were smart enough, at least, to realise the sheer stupidity of backing a foundation which would show the world just how outdated and prejudiced our judiciary remain in the twenty-first century.
But we say thank you, to Paul. Thank you for showing the world your true colours, and for dragging several of your fellow judges with you into the limelight, so we can all see just how badly the judiciary needs to be modernised, too.
It’s not that anyone ever objected to Coleridge speaking out, or that the idea of marriage for some seems to be a panacea (although we would argue this is an incredibly simplistic view of marriage); no, the real offence, which we are sure the JCIO see too, is in the segregation of heterosexual and gay couples within this foundation that goes to the heart of why Coleridge has been disciplined.
But we are still living in a world where some human rights are deemed secondary to others.
We reprint in full, the names of the Founding Supporters of this Think Tank slash Soap Box:
Among those who have agreed to be named as Founding Supporters of the Marriage Foundation are:
HH Judge Graham White