Kentucky Judge Won't Hear Gay Adoption Cases

Mitchell Nance recuses himself over 'conscientious objection'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2017 11:37 AM CDT
Kentucky Judge Won't Hear Gay Adoption Cases

Kentucky has another high-profile official taking a stand against homosexuality. Two years after county clerk Kim Davis made headlines by refusing to issue marriage licences to gay couples, a judge has declared that he won't preside over adoption cases involving gay parents. Judge Mitchell Nance announced last week that he would recuse himself from such cases because of his "conscientious objection to the concept of adoption of a child by a practicing homosexual," reports the Glasgow Daily Times. The move shouldn't have too much of a practical effect: Nance's 43rd Circuit Court has two divisions, and the judge who presides over the other division will handle all the gay-adoption cases. Nance says he has no choice because his personal objection constitutes a bias that requires him to recuse himself, per the Washington Post.

Nance's decision has set off a debate similar to the one that arose when Davis made her own controversial announcement. Two quotes illustrate the opposite sides:

  • Pro-Nance: "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," says Family Foundation spokesman Martin Cothran. "Judges have a right of conscience like everyone else.”
  • Anti-Nance: If he "can't perform the basic functions of his job, which are to deliver impartiality, fairness and justice to all families in his courtroom, then he shouldn't be a judge," says Kentucky Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman.
(Read more gay adoption stories.)

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