LGBT groups have made an official complaint about a judge in Kentucky who is refusing to hear adoption cases involving same-sex couples.
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”.
But now the ACLU and other groups have complained to Kentucky’s judicial disciplinary commission about Nance.
LGBT rights advocate Chris Hartman has said that Nance’s “inability to be impartial is a blight on his office.”
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.
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“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 commended 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.”
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.”