Kentucky Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance
Kentucky Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance

The ACLU of Kentucky, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union,
Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign, and University of Louisville Law Professor
Sam Marcosson have filed a complaint against Judge
W. Mitchell Nance for violating Kentucky’s Code of Judicial Conduct by
recusing himself from any adoption proceedings involving lesbian, gay,
and bisexual people.

On April 27, 2017, Judge Nance filed an order that would require attorneys to
notify the court if the adoption matter being filed involved same-sex
couples or lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals so that he could
disqualify and recuse himself. Judge Nance cites his personal conviction
as the reason for the order. He says that “under no circumstance would
‘… the best interest of the child … be promoted by the adoption …’ by a
practicing homosexual.” Who knew that it required practice?

“Judge Nance’s acknowledgment 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 a judge for all Kentuckians mandates that the Judicial Conduct Commission take swift action.”

According to Martin Cothran of the far-right Kentucky Family Foundation:

We can’t imagine the Judicial Ethics Commission ruling against Judge
Nance for doing what the law requires him to do—recuse himself if he
believes his views might bias a case. And we can’t imagine how the groups now trying to unseat
him claim to be in favor of tolerance and diversity while at the same
time trying to hound from office public officials who don’t agree with
their politically correct ideology.

Recusal is generally an inability to fairly judge an individual case. What this judge has done is to recuse himself based upon an irrelevant characteristic of an entire group of individuals. Moreover he is doing so based upon (presumably) religious mythology that is contravened by a large body of peer reviewed scientific research. At this point the fitness of gay people to be parents is an established fact. Whether of not some Christians disapprove of gay people based upon ancient mythology is irrelevant.

Would there be any question if this judge said that he will not hear any adoption or foster care cases if one or both prospective parents are Jewish because Jews indoctrinate children to hate Christians which is not in the best interests of the child? Why is sexual orientation any different?

Cothran is also being ridiculously trite. They keep trotting out this absurd argument that intolerance of intolerance is unjustifiably intolerant.  Furthermore this has absolutely nothing to do with ideology or political correctness. Allowing gay people and gay couples to adopt or to be foster parents is required by law.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.