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Anti-LGBT groups praise judge who is refusing to hear cases about gay families

Nick Duffy May 3, 2017

A family judge in Kentucky has won praise from anti-LGBT groups for refusing to hear cases about gay families.

Judge Mitchell Nance presides over family court in Kentucky’s 43rd Judicial District, dealing with issues surrounding everyday Kentuckians.

However, the judge has decided he doesn’t want to actually hear cases that involve everyday gay Kentuckians, issuing an order last week to recusing himself from cases involving gay families.

Judge Nance’s order registered an “conscientious objection to the concept of adoption of a child by a practising homosexual”, seeking to recuse himself from such cases on the grounds of “matters of conscience”.

The judge added that he cannot hear the cases because he believes there is no circumstance in which “the best interest of the child [would] be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual”.

Speaking to the Glasgow Daily Times, he said the order was “preemptive”.

The judge explained he wanted to make clear in advance that he would not take such cases, adding: “It’s preemptive in nature… I wanted to preempt there from being any uncertainty if the situation arose.”

Judge Nance has won praise from anti-LGBT groups.

The anti-LGBT Family Foundation of Kentucky said: “If we are going to let liberal judges write their personal biases and prejudices into law, as we have done on issues of marriage and sexuality, then, in the interest of fairness, we are going to have to allow judges with different views to at least recuse themselves from such cases.

“When adoption agencies abandon the idea that it is in the best interest of a child to grow up with both a mother and a father, people can’t expect judges who do believe that to be forced to bow the knee.”

He has also been raised by the lawyer who represented anti-LGBT Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.

Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver said: “Whether it’s moral or spiritual or otherwise, that judge has the right and certainly I believe should recuse.”

He continued: “So this judge is certainly in the right position to do what he has done.”

Kim Davis and May Staver

If many judges recuse themselves from cases involving gay adoption, there could be lengthy delays as decisions would have to be taken in regional court.

In Judge Nance’s case the impact will be minimal as responsibility for the cases will automatically fall on the other judge for the district, Judge John T. Alexander.

Speaking to the newspaper, Judge Alexander confirmed he would hear the cases from which Nance has recused himself.

He said: “It should not affect the ability of any same sex couples to adopt in Barren or Metcalfe counties.”

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