Paediatrician Dismissed For Christian Views And Reinstated Upon Public Outcry

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: July 30, 2009

Experienced community paediatrician dismissed from adoption panel over Christian views has been reinstated upon public outcry.

Dr Sheila Matthews, a Christian community paediatrician with over 18 years experience of advising parents and children in Northamptonshire, had been removed as a medical adviser to Northamptonshire County Council’s adoption panel after asking to be able to abstain from voting on the ‘rare’ occasions when she would be asked, professionally, to recommend children be adopted by same-sex parents. Following legal advice, a lead article about the case in the Sunday Telegraph, other media and public support, the council has backed down and allowed Dr Matthews to continue as an adviser although the Council has said she will no longer be able to attend the adoption panel as a voting member. Dr Sheila Matthews says that "there is research which supports my position that a same sex partnership is not the best family setting to bring up children. As a Christian and a paediatrician I believe that children do best with a mother and father in a committed, long term relationship. Therefore, I cannot recommend a same-sex household to be in the best interest of a child, despite what politicians may have legislated for." Dr Matthews sought a reasonable compromise with the Council, requesting that in applications by same sex couples, she wished to be allowed to abstain from voting (i.e. not vote yes or no). However, the then Head of Services for Children, Young People and Families, advised her she could no longer continue in her role as a panel member and that another medical advisor should be identified. We thank the Christian Legal Centre for this report. For more information please view: and