Groups Call for Judge's Removal From Office
Become a patron of breaking LGBTQ newsChip in $4 go
Kentucky family court judge Mitchell Nance late last month notified attorneys in his county that if they are representing same-sex couples wanting to adopt children they had better find another judge. Calling it a "a matter of conscience," Judge Nance says he will not hear cases involving a "practicing homosexual" who wants to adopt because “under no circumstance” would it be in "the best interest of the child." nance noted his religious beliefs in his announcement.
Nance, who ran unopposed in 2014 and won another 8-year term, says he's doing the right thing by admitting his bias and thus recusing himself from these cases.
Last week a rally was held to protest the judge's decision (video above). This week the ACLU, ACLU of Kentucky, Lambda Legal, Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign, and University of Louisville Law Professor Sam Marcosson jointly filed a complaint for violating Kentucky’s Code of Judicial Conduct, according to local news outlet Lex 18.
The groups say Nance must be removed from office:
“Judge Nance has proven he cannot be entrusted with decisions that affect his diverse constituency and their families,” said Chris Hartman, Director of the Fairness Campaign. “His inability to be impartial is a blight on his office and an insult to the 8,000-plus Kentucky children who need loving foster care and forever homes. The only ethical thing for Judge Nance to do is resign the bench, but since he refuses, the necessary next step is for the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission to remove him.”
“Judge Nance’s acknowledgement that he is incapable of being fair to certain individuals because of their sexual orientation and on the basis of a demonstrably false stereotype establishes that he is incapable of performing the essential duties of his office,” said William Sharp, ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director. “While he is certainly free to hold his discriminatory beliefs, the fact that they prevent him from fairly and impartially acting as judge for all Kentuckians mandates that the Judicial Conduct Commission take swift action.”
“Rather than displaying a fair and open mind in all adoption matters, Judge Nance blindly condemns gay and bisexual people and puts his discriminatory beliefs above the best interest of the child,” said Currey Cook, Counsel and Director, Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project, at Lambda Legal. “Lambda Legal cannot and will not stand by while this judge ignores the best interests of children in favor of stereotypes that have been thoroughly debunked by well-established social science research. We urge Kentucky’s Judicial Conduct Commission to conduct a prompt and thorough inquiry and remove him from judicial office.”
ABC 36 aired the video report above.
To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.