Former Kentucky Judge W. Mitchell Nance, who retired Saturday, was publicly reprimanded for refusing to hear adoption cases for gay and lesbian couples.
Because the judge had already retired from his post, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission thought the only way to hold Nance accountable for his allegedly unseemly controversial views regarding homosexual couples and adoption was to publicly rebuke him.
Despite the fact that judge Nance did not display bias against homosexuals in court, the committee felt that his refusal to hear cases regarding gay couples adopting constituted a big enough violation of bias based on sexual orientation to deserve punishment.
“The Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to fairly and impartially decide cases according to the law. Judge Nance’s refusal to hear and decide adoption cases involving homosexuals is violative of said canons,” the disciplinary commission said, according to US News.
“This should be crystal clear to judges all across Kentucky and the U.S. — if you can’t uphold and respect the law, you have no place on the bench,” said LGBTQ Fairness Campaign advocacy group director Chris Hartman. “Excluding LGBTQ people and families is judicial misconduct, plain and simple.”
The commission’s statements about the judge come after Nance failed to attend a hearing regarding charges that he had violated ethics rules in his refusal to hear a base involving gay parents seeking to adopt, according to the Lexington Herald. It’s not unusual for a judge to be absent from such a hearing, especially given that Nance had announced his retirement in October, commission attorney Jeff Mando said.
Of the approximately 594,000 same-sex couple households in the U.S., 115,000 have children. Roughly 16,000 of those children live with their gay parents in California, which has a higher number of adopted children living in homosexual households than any other state.
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